Posts in Self-Discovery
A new beginning: Finishing my study, moving to Sweden, self-struggle

Hej hej! I just stumbled into my room a second ago and actually, I have plenty of stuff to do, like applying to a really cool job offer, running some errands or just getting into bed and rest because I'm suffering from the flu at the moment. But I really felt like writing some things off my soul and finally getting back on track here on my blog because SO many things have happened! I feel like 2018 has gone by with a blink, and I haven't done anything at all. But in fact so many things changed the past months, especially the last weeks. At the beginning of the year, I struggled with my bachelor thesis. I couldn't find a topic I wanted (was allowed) to write about and in the end, I've been so very desperate that I even thought about quitting my study even though I was almost done. But then I've got myself together and gathered some last energy, found a topic and just wrote the thesis during summer. It has been the hottest summer in a long long time here in Germany, and I spent it in the dark basement writing my thesis between my granny's glasses with jam and my dad's toolbox because it's been the only place to hide from the heat. Now that I think about it, it is hilarious. But now, I'm sitting here and am allowed to call myself a Bachelor. Today I picked up my bachelor certificate and I actually cannot believe it to be honest. I've been struggling with this since I came back from Finland, and I thought the day would never come that I am finally free and done with the study. Now that it's here, I feel...overwhelmed. And I am also a little bit melancholic since I've been at university for the last time today. Even though that place has been a curse at some points, it also has been such a great part of my life - I've found great friends there, I fell in love, I fell out of love, my heart got broken, I've found my passion for music, sang for the first time of my life in the music basement of the uni, my study made me go to Finland... there are so many things I am grateful for and that I look back at now and am a bit sad to let it go. To close this chapter and start a new. But I think this is how life works and I know there are many adventures ahead of me, but I take this moment to remember all that I've learned and experienced here.

So, now that I am free I am able to go wherever I wanna go and that feels so so good! I can finally go after my dreams, and the first one is to MOVE TO SWEDEN! It's nothing new that I wanna move country, but I feel like the past year(s) it has been more of an idea, a wish, but out of reach. Now it is reality and it is possible - and that's such an exciting feeling. Also very frightening but I try to let go of my fears.I've been in Sweden two weeks ago, to meet my friend Maria and head into the mountains of Härjedalen for a job interview. It did me so well to finally have some time off and spend time in nature again. I missed that so much since I haven't found much time for it due to all the stress. The job offer turned out to be not my cup of tea because of private reasons but it gave me some hope to eventually finding a place to live and a job in Sweden and so now, that I am back in Germany, I continue looking for opportunities. Life can change within 24 hours and who knows what kind of possibilities I will get in the coming months. I try not to stress myself anymore, because I did that more than enough this year. Things will fall into place eventually if you have a dream and if you really WANT and WORK for it! :)

Right now, I am working on some music, maybe finally creating the album that I am talking about for more than a year now. But I stopped putting pressure on myself to reach any kind of expectations. I just wanna go with the flow... Moreover, I started to run again which I've neglected for a long time now. I have to admit that my body has really suffered from all the stress this year. I haven't eaten very well, I haven't done any sports and I treated it with a lot of negative thoughts and self-doubt. So I wanna make it up again and start treating it better so it gets stronger once again and prepared for all that comes next.

Okay, that's it for now. I am so happy to be back on track, I am so happy to be free and unbounded and so excited how my future will look like! I am so glad you are still here to follow my journey and I promise that I will share more again in the future :) You can also have a look at my Youtube channel if you'd like to see some videos from Sweden, if you haven't seen them yet!

Take care of yourself
with love,Michelle

When are you a real photographer? - or how to stop judging!

Hui, I don't actually know how to start this post, I am just a bit annoyed right now - not only because my laptop seems to do whatever it wants to by turning on and off how it likes to and closing all the things I've been working on but because something is really bothering me lately and I need to get it off my soul now somehow so I thought I might share it with you. 

I do photography for quite a while now, about two or three years to be correct. I started small and taught myself a lot, never did a professional photographer education but learning a lot by doing and trying things out. I upgraded my equipment through the years, am thinking about getting a better camera soon, also experimented with post-production, editing programs and styles, and tried to find my own way into photography - into ART!  But recently I found myself way too often in conversations with people who asked me questions like "Oh you do photography, how many cameras do you have then?" - " Oh, you wanna live from that, are you sure you are able to?" - "How many jobs did you do so far?" - " Oh, you don't have a professional education?" a n d  s o  o n. And to make that clear, I am not talking about the questions they have, but the way they ask. "Oh, you wanna live from that?" They doubt what you do, they don't think you can make it, they don't take you seriously, THEY JUDGE YOU! And that it is, what makes me so very angry! It took me so long to call myself a photographer! All the time I was so insecure about what I was doing, my parents did not believe in me and made me doubt myself as well. It wasn't easy from the start. To be surrounded by people who do not understand what it means to be an artist, who do not know our struggles and difficulties, they don't know what kind of feeling it gives you. I know that artists have to deal with such judgment of others, but I just hate how people just judge by their first impression. Yes, of course, I could have done a professional education as a photographer but I stuck in a study already when my passion for photography started. Of course, I could have quit that study and start anew and just let 2 years of university be for nothing. Of course, I could have spent all my money to have the best and newest camera and photography equipment. Of course, I could just do an ordinary office job, drown in my self-pity and self-doubt and stay in my little nutshell for the rest of my life. But I can also just finish my study, as I do now, so I haven't studied for the past 5 years for nothing. I can do another education for photography still in the future. I can also just learn by myself and not go with the standards. I can use my money with sense and not just waste it, using the camera I have to create beautiful photos, that have an own style and personality. I don't need an education, the best gear or anyone who tells me what is right and what is wrong as a photographer, I just need myself and my love for capturing life and my own kind of beauty! And I am so sick of explaining myself! I think it is really sad that people are like this, that they tend to judge and make other people smaller than they are. If someone tells me of their passion, I love to listen and support them, because that's the most beautiful thing in life - someone who has a dream and something he or she lives for. Why should I tell them all the things they've done wrong or could do better? Do I know that person and their life or their way to the point they are now? Do I know if they maybe already do the best they can? WHO GIVES ME THE RIGHT TO JUDGE? Nobody! And I wish that more people would understand that. Just because you don't have a paper which says that you successfully finished a certain study it doesn't mean that your work isn't valuable or good! It is so sad because it makes me not wanna talk to people about my work anymore, even tho I actually like to exchange about passions and dreams. I am a semi-social person anyway, and to be confronted with so much ignorance and lacking understanding doesn't really help it.

But I will hold onto my dream to work as a photographer and artist. I know it is not the easy way to go, but I want it so I am ready to work for it. To learn and to improve. I am not perfect and I will never be, but I work with passion and love and that is so much more important than any gear or experience I could have! So if you are a painter or writer, movie maker or whatever kind of artist,  please never let anyone bring you down or tell you that you are not! Because you don't have to have an exhibition, the noble prize for literature or an Oscar to be a real artist! Hold onto your dream and work with your whole heart, and sooner or later it will pay off and people will see that they were really wrong! 


 Lots of love,Michelle

The overwhelming mind of an artist - creative crises

Hej hej! It feels like it has been a long time ago that I properly wrote something here - maybe because it really has been a while. I've got some messages from lovely people who asked if everything is alright and what I've been up to recently since I did not write here anymore and also did not post any videos for weeks. I wanna thank everyone who is wondering what I am doing and who cares for me so much - it really means a lot to me and I actually didn't imagine that people would really notice if I would be gone for a while. But I am still here, I haven't gone lost! It has been silent for a while because I haven't had much to say the past weeks, but now I want to update you more regularly again and share more with you, especially now that Winter is coming.

The reason why it has been quiet here and why I do not post videos anymore is because I feel a little bit stuck recently. I have a bunch of projects I am working on but at the same time, I feel like I am running on the spot. I am working in the health store several times a week, I still go to University, currently finishing my last two classes and working on the last assignments, moreover I am taking care of a neighbor's dog twice a week. Also, I am doing a Swedish class every Wednesday which is great fun but also a lot of work next to all the other things. Malte and I are still recording songs for the CD and after several months of slow progress, I finally wanna finish it. I feel like we are doing really slow and since I am also in a little singer-songwriter crises, it doesn't fasten it up at all. I wanna do so many things but my hands are tied. I would love to create more songs, write more music, but I don't have the proper equipment or skills. I have all these melodies and ideas in my head but I can't let them out - and this doesn't only apply to my music, it is also connected to my writing and all my other creative projects. I would love to write more on here about what makes me happy, but I feel stuck in my current situation which only makes it possible to move limited - although I know it is not permanent. One might say I should just get some proper equipment if it would make me happy and able to turn my ideas into reality, but this collides with my wish to move to Sweden in Spring and my need to save money for that. Maybe my friend Ingrid and I should give it another try with the lottery - although money is not the most important thing in life, sometimes I feel like it would make some things much easier. Talking about moving to Sweden, I am thinking about it every single day, but right now I can't make concrete plans of course. Life is offering me new opportunities every day so I don't know if things will go how I plan them to, but I am thinking about going to Sweden in Spring when I finished university and maybe work on farms to travel around in the North and have a look where I would love to put roots and where I could find work. This is a big dream and it takes a lot of time and sometimes there are also periods where you won't have any progress, like right now. It is part of the project. 

I was also thinking about sharing some of what I learn in my Swedish class and my progress with knitting on here and on my Youtube channel, and also considered to start writing in German here, my native languages, because sometimes I also feel very limited with the English language. But at the same time, I don't wanna exclude all my international readers. I feel like I am thinking too much about everything instead of just doing what feels right. I wanna do everything perfectly and I am never satisfied with what I'm doing. I have these images in my mind which I wanna live up to, I wanna do it like it is drawn in my head, but I am lacking the right possibilities to turn it into reality - and that's annoying me the most and turns into demotivation and frustration! 

Often I wish myself back to Finland, back in the North where I felt really content with what I've been doing. But I know that I am free to go wherever I want as soon as I finished my study in Spring and until then I just have to sit out this plateau I am in right now and make the best out of it. 

For now, I just wanted to let you know that I am still here, I just have too many things on my mind, too many ideas and I don't know where to start. I feel like most creative people have these crises once in a while where they doubt everything they do or are just not satisfied with how things are - you don't even have to be an artist to feel like that. I will be back with more thoughts and photos again from now on! Please let me know if you can relate to what I said and your thoughts and current worries!

I send lots of love to you! Hug!

10 things the year in Finland taught me

Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope you slept well and enjoyed the morning with your favourite breakfast and the sun greeting you. I woke up shortly after six and made my way to the stables again to take care of the horses. In contrast to yesterday, this morning it wasn't raining, but the fields were covered in morning mist and the sunrise looked so very magical. The sun rays made their way through the trees and created an enchanting view while I made my way to the farmstead. I was done with work quite quickly and enjoyed some waffles from the previous day, they have been a little chewy but delicious after two hours of work. Afterwards, I enjoyed the sun and went home to have a real breakfast and rest a little longer in bed. 

Now I am sitting here at the open window and decided to finally write about the ten things that my stay in Finland taught me. I wanted to write this post for a very long time now, but somehow I didn't feel ready yet the past two and a half months. But since at the end of this month it will be one year ago that I packed my suitcase and went to the airport to fly to Helsinki, I now feel fine with telling you what I learned during my time abroad. So here are 10 things that my year in Finland taught me and that made me into the person I am now!

  • 1 | SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO GO - When I left the home I grew up almost twelve months ago, I was ready to go. I was ready to leave everything and everyone behind and start anew. Of course, I did not leave my family behind and I knew it was just temporary but still, I felt like this was my chance to start a new beginning. To finally go to the north and start a life in a surrounding I feel home. I have never been to Finland before but I already knew that it would feel like home, I just knew it. I left Germany with a light heart and leaving all my troubles and all my sorrow here I went there with an open soul and an open mind, free to absorb every single new experience and adventure. And after the first few weeks and also now that I am back home, I realized that sometimes you have to leave things behind, you need to go to get some distance between you and certain people, certain places - even certain troubles that are just in your head. Moving somewhere else often offers you a clean canvas you can start re-painting from the beginning - a whole new start. That's what it has been for me. Finland has been a new start for me.

  • 2 | YOU ARE NOT ALONE - A thing I missed the past couple of years and the reason why I started to share my thoughts and passions here and on other social networks has been the lack of people I am friends with in my hometown. In the town I grew up, I have no friends that share my interests, that have the same hobbies or with whom I could meet to have a walk in the woods or a painting session for example. I like to be on my own, but sometimes I wished I would have someone to share the beautiful things of life with. When I came to Finland I stayed at Tiina's place for the first couple of days since I got the keys to my apartment only a few days after my arrival. We already got to know each other via messenger before I flew over and got along very well. But when I think back now, I would have never imagined that this sweet little fairy could steal such a big part of my heart and become my best friend. I remember all the wonderful and funny and crazy hilarious moments we spent together. All the adventures in the forests, pizza on the sofa, talks about men and troubles, open-mic gigs where she was my biggest supporter in the front row, snowy adventures in the Nuuksio Nationalpark - the list is long and full of precious memories. But Tiina is not the only one I took to my heart. I met so many amazing people who changed my life. Two days before I left Finland we had a farewell picnic together where we sat at the cliffs and talked and shared snacks. While I was sitting in the wind, the sun shining on my back, I was looking from one to another, and my heart was crying a little while I was smiling and so incredibly happy to be able to know those people. I hope they know how much I love them and that they made my stay unforgettable. The tenor of this point is that you are never alone, there are so many people out there that share your passions and mindsets, sometimes we just have to search for a little longer!

  • 3 | FINNS ARE NOT THAT SHY - According to the previous point, I have to correct a prejudice about Finns. Although I have to say that I have been pretty over-enthusiastic because of my overloaded happiness to be in Finland so I started conversations with many people on the streets (although I am not that social usually), the Finns always been really open and kind and not shy at all. I expected the Finnish people to be very secluded, not very talkative and quite since everyone told me so but I experienced quite the contrary. Some reason might be that I integrated quite easily but everyone I've met has been so open-minded and kind, and really talkative. The entire atmosphere in the city has been so different to the one here in Germany. Everything felt... warmer somehow if that makes sense. That's why I took the Finnish people to my heart very easily. Actually, when people asked me if I made any Finnish friends, I realized that I made o n l y Finnish friends, maybe because deep inside me I felt comfortable in that culture and did not want to hang out with international students. I experienced Finland in a whole different way seeing things with the native eyes if you know what I mean. And I am very happy about that.

  • 4 | FINLAND IS UNDERESTIMATED - Additional to my little love letter above, I have to say that Finland always drowns in the shadow of Sweden and Norway. Every time I mentioned that my intention was to go to Sweden for my study abroad Finns told me I should better not mention that in front of them. Of course they were just joking but still, I realized that people always just think about Sweden and Norway when it comes to the Nordic Countries because those two are the most popular. Before I applied for my study abroad I haven't really thought about going to Finland myself, because it is somehow unknown and underestimated. But I think, that is more than wrong, because my time up there was the best in my life, and I did not regret for a single second that I haven't got to Sweden. Yes, my plan is still to move to the north of Sweden but because of totally different reasons. I fell in love with Finland from the first second and now that I left my "second home" I wish that people would appreciate this beautiful country much more because its nature, culture, and people have so much to offer, it shouldn't be a secret! I hope that Finland got a bit more attention perhaps by sharing my adventures with the world.

  • 5 | INDEPENDENCE AND COURAGE - I have always been quite independent because of my travels before but this has been the first time I have been living on my own for a longer period of time. To be honest, I enjoyed it to its fullest. I've always wanted to live on my own, to have my own space and to do things like I want to. But not only having my own apartment, also managing a life on my own let me grow a lot. I've been in a foreign country with people I don't know. A culture I didn't know, a new life I had to find my way into. And it has been easy! It felt so natural to be on my own and to find my way into the new environment. I felt so free and strong and grown up! Every challenge I had to take I mastered with joy and excitement, even when things didn't go how I planned them to. My time in Finland made clear that I can survive on my own and that I can manage things and that has been a damn good feeling!

  • 6 | SELF-CONFIDENCE - Because of my inner growths that I experienced I became braver and grew even more by challenging myself every day. One of my biggest achievements has been my performance at the Open-Mic nights in Siltanen, a lovely little bar in Helsinki. The first time I went there with my guitar and my own songs, I have been so very nervous I stuttered a lot and made many mistakes while playing but the applause afterwards and the appreciation of the people made my endorphins going crazy! I went there a second time and even though the third time I performed there on Halloween went totally wrong, I still felt incredibly proud of myself. The last time I performed at the Open-Mic night I did it for my friends which came to listen. It meant a lot to me and when I am looking back now, I owe it to them that I even went up on the stage, because their support made me feel strong and self-confident! Also in some personal matters, I learned the past couple of months that I have to respect myself enough and fight for my own value, and sometimes have to let go of people who treat me wrong. For myself that is the most important lesson, I've learned during my time in Finland because it saved me from a lot of pain and it surely will in the future although I had to learn it the hard way.

  • 7 | BODY LOVE - Finland is known for its sauna culture and although I haven't been a huge fan of sauna before I went to Helsinki I fell in love with the hot air very quickly. I went to the Helsinki Sauna Day twice where my friend and I visited a tent sauna right at the ocean and the really famous Sompa Sauna in the industrial area of Helsinki. I've spent many hours talking with friends in the small, hot room and remember the sauna with Tiina where we drank cider and cooled down outside under the open sky. Finland made me love my own body, the time in the sauna made me realize that we all have only one body, which carries us around, which makes us survive, which makes us live! Our body makes us able to go on adventures, to breathe in the fresh air and every heartbeat should be appreciated. I learned to love my body how it is. Since I do not judge other people's body, I lost the fear of others judging mine - and seriously, when you are sweating with other people in a small dark room with 90 degrees you have other things to think about than whether you are naked or not! Hihi

  • 8 | EVERYTHING WILL WORK OUT - In November, after living in Finland for three months, I realized that I didn't wanna leave. One morning I woke up and sat on my bed and the thought of leaving my friends and my place behind broke my heart so I wrote an email to the student service to ask how to extend my stay. A few mornings later, I woke up to their reply that I missed the deadline for extension and they are sorry that they can't do anything about it. I guess I don't have to explain the panic I have been in. I immediately started crying and panicking before I've put on clothes and went out of the door without breakfast, rushing to the office of the student service, waiting in line before it was my turn. I talked to the woman who tried to help me, tried to stay calm and after some issues and paperwork, she extended my stay in the end. I guess I don't have to explain THAT FEELING of relief when I've held the papers in my hand that confirmed another half a year in Helsinki. As I sat on my bed again that evening I realized that I didn't need to worry so much after all, that I always worry too much. But that's not necessary because everything works out in the end, I just have to trust. Everything that happened to me the past year, and I don't only mean all the good grades I've got although I wrote my assignments only on the last day before deadline, I mean all the personal matters, all the rocks that rolled into my way, proved that everything worked out in the end every single time. So now, I am so much more unstressed about life and problems it brings. I now try not to worry too much about everything because I trust that I will figure it out - like I always do.

  • 9 | WINTER CAN BE DARK - You might have read my post about Winter Depression I wrote at the beginning of Spring a few months ago, where I talked about my experiences with the Finnish Winter. Enjoying lots of fairy snow and enchanting moments in the winter wonderland of Nuuksio, Winter brought also lots of darkness, which had been really soothing while knitting and making hot chocolate after a long winter walk, but after a few months also has been affected my mood as well. Everyone who tells me that the northern Winters are long and dark and one easily gets depressive, I can agree with now. Yes, the northern Winters shouldn't be taken so easily, but I have to say that I still like the darkness. Many people do not understand when I tell them that I feel so much more energized in dawn and at night and that I liked the darkness. The only thing I also did complain about has been the grey, rainy days at the end of this Winter because those also made me feel depressive in the end. A winter with short, sunny days and long dark nights is something very romantic and calming for me, but as much as I enjoyed it, I also have to admit that my body (although it has been the first long dark winter for my me) missed the sunlight, which just became clear when Spring arrived and the sun came back. The mood lightens up and you realized that you might have been a little winter depressed even without recognizing. But all in all, after every long Winter comes a beautiful blooming Spring and one even appreciates its colors much more after the long white period.

  • 10 | THE NORTH IS WHERE I BELONG - The last point is probably the most meaningful one. My time in Finland made me realize that I belong to the North. Wandering under the Finnish sky, watching the Nordic landscapes passing by on my train ride through the Finnish countryside and admiring the northern lights in the cold winter wind in Ilomantsi at new years eve made me realize, that this is my home, this is where I wanna spend the rest of my life. I can't put into words how much my wish for a cottage in the woods in the North grew after my time up there, but everyone who followed my journey here the past few months might have noticed how determined I am about it and how much I work for it now to realize my dream. Not only the Finnish nature or Helsinki, but the Finnish people showed me that I finally have to leave my hometown to go where my heart was always leading me to!

Recapturing all these moments now one more time, I have so much love for every single soul I call my friend and every single moment I was allowed to spend with them, to spend in the Finnish nature, every tree I saw and every new moon I saw rising above from my window back in my apartment. I am so proud of how much I grew and how strong I became and I am so thankful for these experiences. They prepared me for everything that comes now, they made me ready to chase my dream! 

Have you ever been to a place for a longer time which taught you life lessons? Tell me about it!

Fear of the future - When the uncertainty becomes scary

I am a written paper of a story not yet told - Sometimes I feel like my story has been written already, that our lives are determined, but yet the future is a blank page. It makes no sense because our future can't be prescribed but still alterable. I believe that things will come how they should, that my fate is already chosen, but recently I found myself being scared of the uncertainty of the future more and more often. 

The path I've chosen is not the easiest and I have been aware of that when I decided to chase my dream. The idea of leaving things behind to move the country and live in nature, buying a house and not being sure of what to live from, is not the choice most of the people would go for. Many nights I am lying awake thinking about how to survive up north, how I should make a living, how should I pay for food, how can I make it just with the things I love the most, my photography, my blog, my music. There are so many fears inside me which show up when I am the weakest. I know life is too short to live a life you don't want just to run away from your fear, but even though, I am also scared of making a mistake. Sometimes a voice in my head says "Maybe you should just stay here, you will fail and lose everything you have" and then I humble for a second and don't know what to do anymore.

The thing is, I want so many things at once and while I am writing this post, I realise that my future is actually not that scary and unpredictable but my plans are just too big. I just want so many things all at once. I need to give myself time and space for changes and compromises. I will go to the North, that's for sure. But maybe I won't buy a house just yet but live in a little town in a rented apartment for a while and earn some money before I move on - I should leave some room for intermediate steps! That makes it so much easier to go step by step, day by day, working towards the dream instead of drowning in the fear of not being able to fulfil it all at once. And to reply to that voice " What do I have to lose when I have nothing here that makes me happy?"

I spend most of my time with planning, reading about how to move to Sweden, waterfalls of information, so many things to consider because the fuel of my fear is the uncertainty, not knowing what comes next. Preparing myself mentally for this move helps me a lot to fight my fear about the future. Since I have a father who is very critical of my dream of a life in Sweden, it is even harder to stay positive. The field I am working in is not the most steady one. Actually working with social media is so unpredictable since you can never rely on social networks - a social life can be over in a second and then you are without work, without money (assumed you are making your living from social media work). Of course, I don't know what will happen in a year, what kind of opportunities I will get, whether I will extend my blog, develop my photography - I have no power over all the things that could happen to me. Maybe I'll find a job at a small supermarket in the village I wanna move, maybe I will do more music and sell my songs, maybe a brand will make me an offer I can't pass, maybe I will start a schooling about herbs and work as a herbalist - maybe life will go a completely different way than I expected! I can never be sure.

Life is too short to be afraid. The future is unpredictable and I will never know what will happen and how things will go. Tomorrow is a big black tunnel, but as long as I am walking with a candle in my hand it will never be dark, there will always be enough light. That's what I tell myself when the fear about my future takes over once again. What if we miss the best time of our lives just because we are too afraid to take a risk? 

Are you afraid of your future or do you have an unshakable plan? And what do you do to ease the scared voice in your head? I send lots of love your way! - M.

Photos taken by

Polly Balitro