Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Oh come all ye faithful...

It is very nearly christmas and still, the weather is gorgeous and warm. Lisek and me have been outside all day on our day off, strolling near the Rhine. During the last few months, he has turned into a ball-addicted maniac. To give him some extra exercise I often take the ball with me and throw it for him along the way.

As every year the production of christmas presents is ongoing. Knitting, knitting and knitting. It is not as if I wouldn't enjoy it. Seriously, I am as addicted to my knitting as Lisek is to his ball. At the moment I am knitting a hat for a friend and socks again, as they are so easy and fast to make.

In the picture you see a present I am donating for a good cause. We have a christmas tree on the Carlsplatz, in the middle of Düsseldorf, where children attach selfmade cards with written wishes their parents cannot afford. As we don't have kids and in our family most kids are too grown up for fun presents, I guess it was a very selfish deed to get one of the cards and fulfill the little boy's wish: he wants to have a magician set, how cool is that? On the other hand, it is sad to see how some parents cannot afford the 20 Euros to get their little one a gift.
To come back to the selfish aspect of this, I just love giving away presents. To this day I haven't knit much for myself, most of the socks, mittens and hats have been given away to friends and family. Ariana Huffington writes about this impulse in Thrive, one of the most impressive books I have read in some time. One big part of her book is about giving.
"What makes service so powerful is that its benfits go two ways.", Huffington writes. I absolutely agree. Especially in times like theses, when millions of people lose their homes due to war and poverty, when people from all over the world come to our area to find their luck, or at least some peace, I sometimes feel so helpless, it feels good to give something.

The wish to help others is a big motivator for me and has been those last two years while I was training to be a mediator. The mediator's (or conflict manager's) attitude derives from a strong will to serve other people, it is an attitude of humbleness towards the world. Modesty and Reflection are lessons I have learned on the way and it helps me big time to stay calm in moments of craziness around me. This zen-like mindfulness makes you appreciate others in ther own way and you learn to take things less personal. Everyone has their own struggle and you appreciate that by not judging. This humbleness is very powerful and it motivates to help people in many ways, as it feels rewarding and liberating. Ariana Huffington writes: "From the depths of our compassion, we can free ourselves of all that limits our imagination about what is possible. It's the only way to counteract the excessive greed and narcissism that surround us." She quotes a 2012 study of the University of Wisconsin: "Compassion and altruism can be viewed as trainable skills, rather than as stable traits." Going through the world with an appreciating view, looking for opportunities to serve and to help others, is really mindblowing. Sometimes I have to think of the idea of Karma and I can see why it could make sense. When you try to be mindful and appreciating, while serving and helping people actively, it feels a bit like accumulating; but it is rather joy than points on a chart (that is somehow how I have always pictured Karma, a good-job sheet like in school) As everyhting, mindfulness gets easier with practice. I still remember when a friend asked me what I was learning in my lessons and I tried to show her how attentive listening works. It was pretty hard for me to do, as I am usually the first person, thrusting their good advice at others. Nowadays however, it is not such a big deal anymore. I can listen intensely and being with the other person totally, withouth much effort. This alone is a small step, but has such power, I could have never imagined it.

Mindfulness will be a big topic within the next months and I want to invite you all to read "Thrive", it may help you to be a happier person, as it has helped myelf. Also, if a friend tells you about their problems, why not just really listen, without any advice? Often that is all they need. We do not listen properly anymore, neither to our friends or family, to our surroundings or ourselves. By pausing and listening, I think we can already make a big step towards true mindfulness.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Paris, mon amour…

A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty and in the point of Life. - Thomas Jefferson 

Postcards for the loved ones who had to stay home

Have you ever travelled with your parents? I mean, after you had passed the age of 15? I can highly recommend it. My mom tends to drive me nuts with all her questions and her treating me as if I had the savvy of a four-year old, but travelling with her has proved to change our relationship deeply and to the better.

Take your parents on holiday and they might go shopping with you to the Galeries la Fayette

The beautiful Opera House

Shopping in Paris 

The idea to invite her on a trip came to me about two years ago when she asked me to help her with her English homework. It was a very intimate and somehow touching hour we spent. I practiced irregular verbs with her and felt proud when she managed to do it right, just as she might have about twenty years ago. This change of roles makes me somewhat melancholic. It shows how we age and how our parents will soon depend on our help, us being the “responsible” ones. The thought does not fail to freak me out again and again, feeling like the helpless and shy teenager I used to be. But I guess this is what growing up is all about, taking responsibility for your loved ones, your family and your friends. (As a friend recentyl pointed out, in case of an emergency we always look out for an "adult", not realising we are the adults now.) Feeling touched about the earnestness my mom showed to learn the English language and this cats-in-the-cradle-moment about time passing, I wanted to spend some quality time with this woman who had grown so much apart from me during the time of my teenage years. And also I wanted to show her one of the most exciting cities in the world, London. She could make use of her English there and see that holiday can be great -  even if it does not involve lying on a sunny beach. Last August we spent some days in London together and as we had so much fun and my mom showed so much enthusiasm about it, I suggested to visit Paris this year.

Arc de Triomphe

I had only been to Paris once, five grey December days and still – I have a major crush on Paris to this day. The city reminds me of an intellectual, sensual lover, always exciting and teaching you so much every day. Full of history and also very up to date, modern and traditional, ugly and pretty, with a lot of self esteem, which might make it so sexy.  I have always wanted to come back in summer, when you could sit outside and watch the city walk by.  August did not prove to be the best time though, as the buzz is mainly created by tourists and the real Parisian is away on holiday. Still, Paris is Paris. If you like walking and enjoy a good drink and formidable food, Paris is your city. The city of light lives up to it’s name: At night, the city sparkles with a thousand lights and the Eiffel tower shows why it is the setting of so many love stories. It is a romantic and melancholic city. While wandering the small streets near the Seine, or watching idleness in the Jardin des Tulieres, enjoying some éclairs in the streets, I started to think about life and about my life in particular. Is this it? Have I taken the right routes? Is my life where it is supposed to be? I guess it is a curse of our generation: wondering.

Notre Dame

Oh, Champs Élysées

Paris definitely called out to me. I wish I could say it was “Je ne regrette rien”, but it was more like “Go where you want to go, before it is too late”. The older we get, we sometimes feel far from our dreams, because when you are young, you can still tell yourself: I am going to do that later. But when you are 30, you feel like that later is “now”, which can be scary. The few days in Paris helped me to gain some perspective onto what I want and the thought of diving again headfirst into my passion for movies and media theory is making my heart spin. I want to be closer to the person I dreamt of being when I was 20, and I guess I love Paris all the more for making me see that more clearly. Remember what you wanted to be like when you “grow up”? How far from that ideal are you? And are you ok with it? If you ever wonder what you should do with your life, I recommend you some days in this city of lights.

On the banks of the Seine

Board on the banks along the Seine

But apart from all the deep thinking I was doing while in Paris, I would like to tell you about our trip and maybe you'll find some of the stuff helpful on your next trip to this beautiful city.

Hotels in Paris are a joke. The last time we went there, we lived in a nice area, in Montparnasse, but we paid heaps of money to stay in a hotel with paperthin walls and a less than mediocre breakfast we didn't even eat most of the time. So after having used airbnb for Estonia around New Year's I decided on checking it out for Paris. You can find all kinds of apartments or rooms on airbnb, where people lent the space they don't need. On our winter-trip to Paris I had missed having a bit of a kitchen to at least make some tea in the evening. We decided on a studio apartment near Gare du Nord, where we also arrived via Thalys. (I absolutel recommend taking the Thalys, it was comfortable and didn't take too long). It is not the nicest area of Paris, but my mom and me were never even spoken to on the street. In fact, all people we had contact with were extraordinary nice and friendly, plus all the groceries were quite cheap in our area. Our host, Dominique, was charming and did everything to make us feel at home. On our last day, after check out, he watched our luggage in his apartment till our train left. The apartment was small, but very light, with a comfortable bed, a small kitchen and a rather roomy bathroom with a bathtub. Most of it had been redecorated. It was great for summer, but as the windows didn't really shut I am not sure how cold it might be in winter. You have a great view over the city and can even see the Eiffel tower, although it is quite far away.

Apartment on top of Paris

My mom tends to be the more touristy person of us. She wanted to visit the Louvre, as you would when you are in Paris. I am not a great fan of art though and especially not of long queues. We went to the Louvre, had a look around and after I had read her from our traveler's guide that it would take up to three months to have a look at all the exhibits, my mom agreed that this would not be a wise adventure if you only have three days. Hehe. So, we took a lot of strolls along the beautiful streets of Paris instead, went shopping, walked up to Sacre Coeur in the early morning, were disappointed by the tent they put on the Montmartre Square in summer and most of all, had great food. Being a foodie in Paris is like a dream. In German we have the saying if you live well you live like "God in France". Very true, if you ask me. Even the smallest café had delicious cuisine and of course, Paris is pricy, but it depends very much on the location.


Sacre Coeur

I remember one night, when we sat outside of a very chic café on the Boulevard St. Germain, enjoying great wine and some fresh baguette with cheese. It was so peaceful and pittoresque. My mom and me we are both walkers. And by that, I don't mean zombies from the Walking Dead, but we like to walk everywhere. My fitness tracker on my mobile phone ran hot, while we walked more than 20 km every day. Along the Seine, which is especially nice in summer, as they put all kinds of restaurants and bars along the banks of it, where you can sit and enjoy the weather.

On one of our many walks, a guy with a baguette crossed our way (I guess this happened more often, as we were in Paris), we were both hungry and figured that the bakery must be somewhere near. And yes, it was the bakery that had won the prize for best baguette in 2013 it was I think. And my advise to you: put some trust into those Prizes, the baguette must have been the best I ever had!

I had always wanted to visit cemetery Père la Chaise, so we went there. You find all kinds of old graves and tombstones there, famous families, famous historians, writers. They have a map on the cemetery, which tells you where you can find which dead person. Pretty weird if you ask me. We managed to find the grave of Oscar Wilde though. (It was put into a glass container, so that it isn't covered in kisses anymore. If you ask me, Oscar would have loved the colourful statements of his fan's admiration) I love Oscar Wilde, he is a fascinating figure for me and his wit is timeless.

Me at Oscar Wilde's grave

You can see all the kisses for Oscar

My most favourite garden in Paris is - and was in December - the Jardin du Luxembourg. The French do it right: they put loads of chairs into the park so that everyone can sit down and enjoy the sun. Before we went to the park, we got some (very expensive) cake in the Japanese patisserie Sadaharu Aoki, whose cake looks almost too good to eat. But we were brave and ate it anyway. I love that about city trips, just to go where the natives spend their day, sit down and see life float by.

Le Jardin du Luxembourg

Chillin at the Gardin

A visit to Paris wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Eiffel Tower. We went to the top (not the highest up, it was too windy) enjoyed the view and took a lot of pictures with my new camera. Then suddenly the space under the Tower was evacuated. They had found a pink backpack without owner. The military police was there immediately and more and more police were coming. After Charlie Hebdo in spring, this reaction is understandable and blowing up the Eiffel Tower could be high up on the agenda of some terrorists. It was a frightening , but in the end sadly a quite normal sight. Afterwards, thinking about it, I find it mostly depressing. People believing other people are threateing to blow them up. It is a weird and often disgusting world.

View from the Tower

It was windy up there

If you go to Paris and you love books you definitely have to visit "Shakespeare and Company". It is beautiful! Full of books in every corner, with a cat on the first floor and even a fire (surrounded by all the dry paper, that seems like a "play with fire" if you know what I mean. I couldn't believe it at first) Their whole attitude is positive and mindful, check out their website, you will know what I mean. Even their bags are inspiring! They have lectures there on a regular basis and you can sit down in cozy armchairs to have a good read. I loved it! If I lived near I would definitely go there often for lectures and nice evenings with tea and good books.

Paris in the middle of summer is - crowded. And not with Parisians, but with tourists. We experienced that especially when we wanted to visit the catacombes. We were there half an hour before the doors open and still had to wait quite a long time. One warning: Go to the bathroom before you get in line or even during standing in line as you cannot once you are downstairs. My mother learned that the hard way. Down there you are just amazed how many bodies are buried there.

Les catacombes

Thousands of Bones

Our most favourite part of Paris was the Latin quartier with it's many small streets, less traffic and nice bars and restaurants. We found a café. the Café Latin, with such nice staff and good food we even returned there for another evening.

On our last day, rain had found us, so we decided to do a very touristy thing at last: a hop on - hop off- bus tour. I can recommend it in Paris, not only did it have the most beautiful Paris cliché music, but also the information about the historic sights are quite interesting and very exciting. You know most of the stories about the French Revolution for example, but the way they tell it when you are at the Place de la Concorde, you get goosebumps, it suddenly seems so real.

Paris is definitely one of the loves of my life and I will be back soon.

Life is too important to be taken seriously- Oscar Wilde

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A whole lotta knitting going on...

Hey folks,

what have you been up to?

Autumn is finally here and that means: knitting time! I have several gifts to knit and while I am having a week off work due to some collected overtime, my knitting time has expanded big time. Accompanied by Big Bang Theory on Netflix (I know alost all of the episodes, but this way I do not miss anything while checking out the pattern) Lisek and me have been whirling the needles, so to say.

The pattern I am mostly knitting those days is called Water for the Elephants. I haven't made any of those for myself yet, but they are gorgeous gifts and especially nice in cold winter nights. A lot of people around me have their own elephants-socks now. I love the pattern's Indian-Hippie-look! As it is only two colours it is not too complicated. I even knit these on the train, with the pattern on my lap.

Water for the elephants - red and black
Water for the elephants - blue and white

Lisek is watching my knitting. I might make something for him someday, just for fun. He does not need any clothes, neither do most of the dogs around. I would probably be ashamed if I had to walk a dressed dog in the streets.
 I bet Lisek agrees with me on that.
It might be funny to make him something for christmas though. Due to his very unconventional shape (let's face it, he is shaped a bit like a sausage), most jumpers you could buy for dogs would be too short for him, so if I ever want to dress him up, I probably have to make it myself.

The only socks I have ever knit for myself are made out of leftovers from yarn skeins. I divided them into two and then tried to knit two socks that look the same. Well, it sort of worked, but as I am only wearing them inside, to warm my feet. I am pretty happy with how they turned out. Plus, they are made from material that would have otherwise been thrown out. Try it, they are made really fast and you will have warm feet all winter long...


Warm feet everyone!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

This blog was intended to share my progress and my findings in knitting and other handmade projects, so I am glad to have some "back to the roots"-post for you, about Opus the Octopus.

The pattern is free and you can find it here 

I had bought some very nice coloured yarn in Estonia last winter, but it was incredibly scratchy. I knew I could not use it to make any kinds of clothes, so I searched for alternatives. Opus seemed perfect for the occasion. I am a bit sloppy when it comes to instructions, often I like them for the inspiration, but I am too lazy to actually follow them. No wonder my first Opus looked a bit sloppy, too. But a friend liked him apparently and asked me to make her one.

This time, I searched for two fitting colours of nice and soft yarn, I followed the instructions in detail and I also bought eyes for the little one. And of course, the result is much nicer. It is a lot of fun to knit something, that feels like coming "alive" more and more. You can see that the Opus with eyes looks much more liefelike. So, Nadine, you can come and pick your new flatmate up, he is waiting for you, while hanging out with his red and green friend.

Both octopuses hanging out in our living room

The dudes, hanging out

Opus looks much more alive with a real teddy-eye

The little fox - meet Lisek!

Meet Lisek, our little fox
Me and dogs...

Man's and woman's best friend, that is how we call our dogs. There is a reason for it, dogs do not (or hardly) judge us, they love us whether we suck in our job, fail the 100th time to lose weight or are socially incompetent.

From a very young age, as almost every kid, I dreamt about having a dog in my life. My parents had their reasons to not make this dream come true (Not true, I still think it would have been a pretty great idea), but when I moved out into a shared flat with two friends, we adopted Lily, a smart and pretty collie-mix, which has stayed with me after the two others had left the country. Since Lily's passing two years ago, the Schön family has been without a dog. We travelled and enjoyed some of the freedom that comes from being so independent, but life felt somehow incomplete. Everytime I saw a dog on the street, I yearned for having one of my own again. (A colleague once thought, interpreting my gaze, that I had spotted a baby, but no, it was a dog. Cute puppies touch my heart far more than babies, I guess that will never change.)

Lisek in his new home

My men on one of our trips

One of his ancestors must have been a German Shepherd, would be interesting to find out,
which other breeds were involved in making this ;)

Several factors made it easier to decide for a dog this year: we bought a van, a camping-van with bed, kitchen, bathroom, which will make traveling by plane etc. less frequent, we will rather be driving around in Europe with our second apartment, as I like to think of it. Ideal for taking a dog with you. Plus, we would feel much safer with a dog in the car, while being parked in some neck of the woods. Furthermore, I reduced my office hours this year to write my PhD, which I can do from home. My tasks at work will change next year, meaning I will be more flexible.

After some discussion, even Mr. Schön  (the reasonable part of our relationship) did not have any arguments against getting a new family member, so we decided to search for one over the internet and in shelters in our area. We did not want to adopt a puppy, but an adult dog and I wished it to be a herding dog, appreciating their clever mind and their loyalty.

Living in an apartment, with jobs and limited free time we decided that getting a border collie would be a bad idea, as they need an extra portion of attention and space. By watching a show on animal planet (yes, watching tv can be helpful!) I learned that Corgis are in fact herding dogs. (They were bred in Wales to herd cattle). And they are small and cute, so I searched for grown up Corgis online. Turns out, Corgis are incredibly rare in our part of Europe.) However, we found a cute Corgi-German Shepherd mix who was described as friendly and relaxed. Sounded good.

We met Lisek (Polish for "Little Fox", he came from a shelter in Warsaw and looks indeed a little bit like a fox) at a foster ladies' home and loved him from the first minute. He was so happy to see us, as if we had known each other for years. Mr. Schön and him hit it off right away, playing around wildly in the grass.

We adopted him mid-July and he has been adorable ever since. I am sure that he has had suffered some hardship in his life on Polish streets (or maybe even forest, as he does not seem to be too familiar with city traffic), but from his character you would never know. He loves everyone! Any dog is eagerly approached, any person is greeted when they talk to him - it is adorable. And quite touching, at times. For us, this character trait is absolutely relaxing, as we know he will never hurt anyone, even if the other dog (or person) is less friendly. His legs looks too short for his body, which makes his apperance seem so harmless, despite of his German Shepherd resemblance, no one is ever afraid of him. A lot of people smile, when we pass them on the street, as he looks funny with his short legs and his big ears. I love how he seems to make people a bit happier whenever they see him.

On one of our trips with the camper van, in Teutoburger Wald
Before getting a new dog, I read heaps of books about dog education. Lily had always had problems with separation anxiety and I wanted to be prepared to get the new dog to stay home alone. (As you can imagine, having a dog in an apartment, that cannot stay home alone without howling and barking is quite limiting.) Lisek had a hard time staying alone at first, but throughout the months we managed to get him used to be quiet when left alone. He was quite good at learning the basics, like "sit" and "down", but he did not seem to be nearly as clever as our old dog. After a few months at our home however, he has developed to much, it is pretty amazing. Although he has been relaxed in July, August and September, I have the feeling that only now, in Ocotber, he has started to feel sure about his home and his place in it, which led to much more cognitive ability somehow. He seems like a totally different dog from the one we got in the beginning. He did not use to play with toys or balls and now he cannot get enough of them. When he is off the leash he comes to me whenever I call, no matter if there are other dogs or a treat, etc. It is these small steps, that make having a dog so special. Not to mention the hours I spend outdoors, with beautiful sunsets, sun risings and pretty amazing sights and fresh air.  I will keep you posted about the adventures of little Lisek, we have plans for spring, maybe joining an agility club or even try mantrailing, as Liseks nose is superb and he likes to use it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A true hero

For quite some time I was undecided on whether or not I should write this post, but I finally decided for it, because it is the story of a real hero, my grandmother and further generations of our family should know about it. Maybe her story can also help you appreciate the beautiful things in life. My grandmother has always be a touchstone in my life, a constant source of warmth. love and peace and probably the most inspiring and influential member of my family for me.

My grandmother was born in 1934 in a part of the East of Germany which today belongs to Poland. Due to the loss of these areas in the Second World War to Russia, her family had to flee to West Germany. I have only heard my grandmother talk about this by the end of last year when my grandfather died. I had known that he was a refugee, but that my grandma came from the area we call Schlesien was new to me. Her escape sounds like a dangerous and quite dramatic journey, where my grandmother, her two sisters and her mother found shelter in farms and in people's houses who helped them, but they eventually got split up. My grandmother does not like to talk about this time, but when I found a cute picture of her and a woman, while looking through old photos, she told me the horrible story behind it. The woman on the picture was one of the caretakers she had been given to on the journey to West Germany, a cruel, children-hating person that tortured the already traumatised kid even further. When my grandmother got sick, the woman put a cloth with boiled potatos on her chest and did not listen when the little girl complained that it was too hot. Soon, my grandma's chest was covered with hot, angry blisters. To "treat" the blisters, the woman took some needle and thread, poked through the blisters and ripped them open. I almost cried when I listened to that story and I have tears in my eyes right now- knowing the warm-hearted loving person my grandmother is today.

After the family had reunited they lived in a small flat in the time after the war. My great-grandmother apparently never got over the loss of her home and her old life, I have only known her as a very quiet old lady, not satisfied without a drink in her hand. Some tales the sisters of my grandma told, made it obvious that being depressed about the war, the poverty and having to leave behind her friends and her old life had made her a bitter person who could not give the girls the guidance and support that three teenagers might have needed. One story was unbelievable to me: Imagine the time of poverty and famine after the war. People ate what they could find on the streets and christmas present meant to have a good meal, or if it was your birthday you could call yourself lucky if you maybe got a cake. The three girls made the best of it and they had even adopted a small buddy, a Jack-Russell-terrier. Loving dogs myself I can imagine that the little fella gave them some joy in their hard lifes. Until he was gone. The neighbour had eaten him.

In the early 50s, my grandmother started to work as a housemaid for an English family. The Western sector was an English zone, which is why a lot of British soldiers and their families were positioned in the Ruhr area. Working for this family seemed to be a very happy time in my grandma's life, she often told me about taking care of the kids, their dogs and learning how to cook English meals. She makes fun of the baked beans and sausages, but I can tell that she loved to be in contact with another language and culture and kept her open-mindedness to this very day, which is quite untypical for German people her age.

She met my grandfather in the late 50s, on a tram, and felt attracted to this handsome, younger man. The young, rockabilly looking man had also fled from Schlesien and charmed her into a relationship that ended in an unplanned pregnancy in 1958. It must have been very hard for my grandma, because although she loved my grandpa, she lost her job with the English family (she only told them after a holiday trip to Italy - my grandma knows how to make the best of a situation ;-) ) and had to move in with my grandfather and his parents. His mother did not appreciate her son's choice and they had to wait until my grandfather had turned 21 (being of age in the 50s), so they could get married, as the parents did not want to give them permission. This meant that only a few days before giving birth to my mom, they became husband and wife. My grandfather's mother - a strong woman, having fled from her home with four daughters and one son all on her own - made her daughter in law's life hell. Her first comment on the birth of my mom, who apparently had one foot bound to the leg due to a mild malpositioning was "And it's a cripple, too!" (Apart from being "just" a girl)

Life got better eventually, when the little family finally had the money to move into a flat on their own. The love for pets, especially dogs, cats and horses is a trait that connects my grandma and me deeply and made them have quite a few dogs. When my aunt got married to the owner of a horse ranch just across the street from my grandparent's house, my grandma helped out in the stables and with taking care of the horses.

In the sixties, my grandma got the driver's license (in our family she is famous for her fury behind the wheel, swearing at other drivers) and she got a job, with a hairdress some "Mad Men"-characters would be proud of.

I got to know her as a loving grandmother, wonderful mother, always listening to people who needed her, always welcoming, there could never be too many guests in her house and even if you knocked on her door spontaneously today, she would welcome you in and offer you some of the most delicious food there is on the planet. She definitely is the best cook I have ever met. Her passion about people and pets, about crafting (she used to sew and knit, just like I love to do) and about enjoying life in general, even when it has not always been easy for her, are truly inspring to me and if I can say that I resemble my grandmother a little bit, and live to her example I will always be proud. I am grateful for this wonderful woman in our lives, who has raised three daughters, eight grandchildren and three great-gradchildren. May many more children to come get to know you and learn what it means to be "family".

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I want to believe!

Great news: The X –Files is coming back!!!

A major X-Phile (which nerdy I know, X-Files Fans have called themselves, in order to avoid another „Trekkie“-nickname) in my teen-years the series has changed my life. Without it, I would not be in my current job, probably would not have studied media science and would not have met some people that are good friends to this day.

After I had watched „Fight the Future“ in cinemas, I was hooked. My friend Jeannie and me – of our knowing the only X-Philes in our village – met for every episode, taped it and rewatched it right after the episode had ended. We were obsessed. Everything in our lives was about the X-files, the people we met, the stories we read, even the music we listened to. Internet was a relatively new thing and as Jeannies parents first had internet access, we met at her place regularly to chat with other fans. It was a great time, exploring the vastness of the internet and meeting so many people sharing our interest. The world was our oyster and we made new friends (Yes, moms, we even met them in real life and they have become great friends and even partners. Meeting someone you only know online? Creepy and dangerous, according to my mom…) we were extemely creative, wrote and translated fan-fiction, made music-videos and even contacted a few writers we admired a lot. They had written books about series to finance their studies of media science and became true friends. Thinking about how much a piece of television can change your whole life makes me dizzy somehow…

And now Mulder and Scully will be back!!! I celebrated with starting to watch more X-Files again. Last episode was „Pusher“, a good start, but now I want more!

I wanted to tell you something about my favourite episodes. If you are a fellow phile, maybe you want to start watching again, if you are not, maybe you will be. !!SPOILER ALERT!! I try not to give away too many details, but to describe the episode I need to give some information.

First I would like to say that I am not a big „mythology“-fan, so I do not appreciate the episodes about the general alien-government-conspiracy half as much as well-made monster-of-the-week or comedy episodes.

One of the first episodes I watched is still very dear to me:

3X23 (meaning 23rd episode of season 3)

Now, I think I have never seen this episode on a „Best Of“-list, but it truly is for me. Maybe being a tv-nerd the topic of sublime messages delivered through television is fascinating in itself. The atmosphere of a typical conspiracy-thriller including paranoia depicted perfectly by weird camera angles and distressing noise, the appearance of all the important characters (Lone Gunmen, Scullys Mum, Skinner, The cigarette smoking man, Mr X), Mulder‘s fear for Scully… I just love it!

All Darin Morgan Episodes

Darin Morgan brought comedy into the X-Files, or let's say, he made comedy episodes a genre, The X-Files have always been a series with room for humour, but episodes like Humbug are so bizarre, the selfreflective nature of Darin Morgan's episodes are a delight!

A fun monster-of-the-week episode, with some adorable Mulder-Scully-talk (You know… „What are we doing here?“ „Well…“ „Oh no, Mulder, you are not telling me we are looking for…“), satirical elements, some drama (poor Scully) and some serious talk about Mulder’s quest fort he truth. I love the ending as well, whimsical…


When I first saw this episode I did not know who Alex Krycek was and what he had done, but I guessed that Mulder really hated him for a reason. Again, the feeling of not being able to trust anyone, the corruption, the conspiracy… goose bumps. „The cold war is not over“ as last quote from the episode sums it up pretty well. The depiction of Russia is – let’s say debatable- although most of it is meant to show rural Siberia, so I guess one should not overrate the gulag-scenes.
Scully fighting for Mulder’s safety against American conspirators in court in scenes full of suspense, her loyalty towards him truly touches my heart every time and depicts the most romantic love I could ever think of. You can tell, I advise you to watch it. The hug… Well, I am a romantic. These are the only so-called mythology episodes on the list, as I am not a big fan of those. The alien-conspiracy-story... Not my cup of tea.

Memento Mori

The fourth season was the first one I watched entirely, which might be why I like it a lot. The plot about Scully's illness deepens the Mulder-Scully-relationship and Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny are just so perfect acting out these feelings of fear and helplessness. It might be a pretty dark season, but it has it's very funny moments. Memento Mori is a Scully-based episode and I have always liked those a lot, because, let's be honest, Scully's is the more interesting character, with her doubts, her feelings of loneliness, her longing for a normal life while being fascinated by the paranormal phenomena she witnesses.

The Post-Modern Prometheus

Frankenstein. Ever since a very impressive seminar on Gothic-literature and one on mad scientists, I have been fascinated by the story of Frankenstein. Chris Carter himself took the story of the German scientist, creating a monster and turned it into a father-and-son-story, which turns into an homage to Cher, while at the same time being a satire about today's American tv culture. It sounds crude? Watch it, it is funny, witty and touching. Plus it offers one of the most used scenes on Mulder-and-Scully-shipper videos. Did I mention it is black and white? Aweseome....

Bad Blood

I read that this is Gillian Anderson’s favourite episode and I can fully understand it. I do not want to tell you too much, if you have not seen it, watch it. Maybe it should not be your first X-Files, as a lot oft he humour derives from knowing the series and characters well… Let me just tell you it imitates the strategy of film-classic Rashomon and turns it into something extremely funny. (For me it was exotic when I frst watched it as I didn't know about Magic-Finger-beds plus I wondered what the little plastic thing is that Ronny is somehow found guilty by, as we do not have it in Germany: the little white plastic piece that holds the lid from the pizza.