Showing posts from 2016

New Year's Eve Over the Years

New Year's Eve is once again upon us. My expectations on how to spend that evening have changed tremendously over the decades.

As a child
When I was little, the most exciting part about New Year's Eve - and also the only expectation I had about that evening - was being allowed to stay up late. A staple in my childhood for that night was to watch 'Dinner for One'. Other than that it was all about watching TV, trying to stay awake until midnight and if I made it, shoot off some cheap fireworks in the backyard.

As a teenager
Growing up in the Austrian Alps, going out to a club wasn't really a thing. What the kids in the countryside did was meet at a hut in the mountains where we were surrounded by snow. Someone's uncle always had a hut and we would meet there in the early evening to get started on the bags of alcohol we dragged up there. One by one, we passed out somewhere on the floor or if you were lucky on a chair. It was a simple time.

In my early twenties
At th…

Holding on to My Inner California Girl on My Wedding Day

So... I got married this year... twice... to the same guy - of course.

As you know from my previous blog posts, I have been married before and was a happily divorced woman. In the years following, I didn't think I ever wanted to get married again. I had the 'been-there-done-that-meh-not-that great' kind of attitude. And why do something again that wasn't all that the first time around.

Nonetheless, what I didn't think was going to happen happened. I met a boy. Boy was cute. Boy treated me right (respectful, loving and caring). Girl moved in with boy. Fast forward two years - boy popped the question on a cliff by the pacific ocean in Malibu. Girl said yes!

And then... the planning phase started. I absolutely hated my first wedding. I hated the dress, the venue, the officiant, the atmosphere and the bored faces of the guests. At the time, I only had a few months to put a wedding together in a city that I just moved to. I had no clue what I was doing. That's why t…

Election Hangover

Did you also wake up with a massive hangover this morning? Not just because you jugged numerous glasses of wine to either celebrate or cry over the election results but also because this has been a long and agonizing road.

Personally, I am absolutely gutted about the election outcome - as an American, as an immigrant and most of all as a woman. If this election tells us one thing, it is that misogyny is more acceptable to the public at large than being a woman.

Men who voted for Trump told their mothers, sisters and daughters that they are below a racists, homophobes and sexual predators.
Women who voted for Trump diminished the value of their own existence. They basically said 'yes, I am worth less than a hateful man.'

Even if you believe that Trump is a good business man, which I don't think he is (why not show your tax returns if you have nothing to hide? AND he has a court date coming about accusations of fraud concerning Trump university), that belief should not outw…

When Starting Over is a Good Thing

I grew up in the Austrian countryside in the 1980s. People were less open minded at the time - even more so in the small alpine villages. The biggest crime you committed as a woman was being a divorcee. Something must be wrong with her. She must have neglected her marital duties - either in the kitchen or another room. It was never questioned what was wrong with the guy and that he may have been at fault. Divorce was always seen as a failure.

Why is it that society at large pities divorced people (mainly women)? Why is it that we see divorce as something negative. I once sat next to two sisters who were both in their 50s. One was married to the same man for the last thirty years. The other was on her second marriage. The latter told the other one commenting on her upcoming wedding anniversary: "I admire you for being married to the same man for that long." She sounded sad while she said that - and her second husband was sitting next to her. I thought to myself 'Didn'…

Donald, You Are Fired! - My Vision for the Near Future

Watching the U.S. election with a non-American, in my case European, perspective leaves one to wonder about what goes on in the minds of Americans. From an outside view, it is very clear that Donald Trump has the mental capacity of a five year old who had his candy taken away from him after throwing his own feces at his siblings. He pouts when he doesn't get what he wants. He interrupts and yells when he is exposed as lying. And he masks his insecurities (especially about his small hands and lack of business skills) by 'adjusting' the facts and repeating over and over how great and rich he is. He called Mexican rapists and is the poster child of misogyny. He is the crazy uncle you only need to see at Christmas and the reason why you get wasted on eggnog before Christmas brunch was even served.


However, there is a 50:50 chance that we - and by 'we' I mean the entire world - will have to see the crazy uncle all year round.

Earlier this week, I watched the fi…

Waking up in America!

Fifteen years ago today, I woke up at my new 'home' in Santa Monica, California, USA. I was still jet lagged. It felt odd to see palm trees when I looked out the window. It was also much warmer than I was used to this time of the year. Helicopters circled over the buildings and along the beach looking for anyone and anything suspicious as the terror attacks of 9/11 only happened 11 days earlier.

I was confronted with a lot of unknowns:
Will I like living here?
Will terrorists attack Los Angeles?
Will I find new friends soon?
Will I get very homesick?
Will I be able to get into and through university?
Will I stay here forever or will I go back to Europe in a few years?

All of these questions plagued me for weeks after moving to California. I felt very lonely most of the time. Yes, I spoke and understood English. Yes, I lived in an amazing neighborhood just a five minute walk from the beach. However, all of that doesn't automatically make you feel happy and 'at home'…

The Lessons I Learned from Americans After 9/11

Today marks the 15th anniversary of 9/11. Do you remember where you were when it happened? I was in Salzburg at an Irish pub. CNN was running on the TV. Both towers were still standing. I asked the guy behind the bar what happened and he told me about the planes that hit the World Trade Center. "Was it an accident?" "I don't think so..." I only came to confirm a reservation but stayed to watch and find out more. The longer I watched the more scared I got. Why? Because I had a plane ticket going to America for only 10 days after this fateful day that changed the world.

Soon it became evident that I was moving to a country that is about to enter into a war. What did that mean? More terror attacks within the U.S.? Fighting on the streets? Bombings? I didn't know what to expect. When I arrived at LAX, the airport was filled with guys holding guns. Helicopters circled above the city nonstop. It seemed like a movie. CNN was on all day and all night long. Looking…

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LAlien is now also on Huffington Post Germany!


European Vacation vs American Vacation

The title of this post could also have been '5 weeks vs. 2 weeks'. Once you are used to having five weeks vacation (or even six weeks when I lived in Germany) it is very hard to drop down to two weeks of paid vacation.


How do you not go insane on only two weeks of vacation? You plan your time off work very carefully and strategically - especially when you want to do trips overseas, which for me meant 'going home' to Europe. When you live abroad, going home is essential for not feeling gutted and not suddenly crying non-stop due to homesickness. It is one of the worst emotions I have ever felt. Yes, it gets better over the years but especially in the beginning those trips back home are necessary for the expat's/emigrant's well-being.

Some companies that I worked for didn't even allow its employees to take these two weeks at once. Flying to Europe for a week is possible but very exhausting. Coming back and feeling relaxed after a one week trip to the…

Nice - Graz - Santa Monica: Vehicle Weapons

Nice is a lovely, touristy beach town in Southern France.
Graz is Austria's second largest city and very quaint.
Santa Monica is the representation of the California lifestyle.

I've lived in two of those places and visted one several times as a tourist. And all three have one thing in common: they all were locations where vehicles were used as weapons. The incident in Santa Monica was the one that made me realize that this can happen anywhere. This is how I experienced it:

I heard the fluttering for the first time while sitting in front of my computer to do some research for a paper for college. It was around lunchtime on a regular sunny summer Wednesday in Santa Monica. The noise grew louder and louder by the second. I looked out the window in my home office but didn’t see anything. I walked into the living room where the windows were facing the city center. There, I saw the source of the fluttering noise. A cluster of several helicopters was hovering over the rooftops of do…

When Life Stifles Creativity

I don't know what to write about these days. The repeat of the presidential election in Austria? The impending whacky presidential election in the U.S.? The increase of hatred and race-related crime in Europe and the U.S.? Brexit? Each topic seems to be too political to be discussed on what I consider to be a light-hearted blog. From a marketing point of view, I want my readers to feel good after leaving my page. I don't want them to feel down or reminded of how f-ed up the world is at the moment. 
In the midst of all the 'heaviness of life' is the whimsicality of the Euro Cup finale playing on TV as I write this. Who will win? Portugal or France? Do be honest: I don't care. And I am sure a lot of other people also don't care but they dive into the unimportant distraction that is soccer. And why not? Does it make us bad people that we are not glued to the TV thinking of all the injustice that goes on in the world? I don’t think so. I believe it is type of surviv…

Where in the world are you reading LAlien?

Daniel is reading LAlien in Vienna's Japanese garden
Sally is reading LAlien by the pool in Italy and Kirsty on her rooftop terrace overlooking Vienna

'LAlien' featured on German Hollywood-insider Blog 'neuH'

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Aya is reading LAlien in Hawaii! Where in the world are you reading LAlien?


Shot through the Bruin-heart

For those who have read my book 'LAlien', you know how much my time at the University of California-Los Angeles, better known as UCLA, meant to me. Those were my formative years, which for others often happen in their teen years.

I started attending UCLA in 2004 after transferring from Santa Monica college. I was already in my mid-20s and therefore much older than most Bachelor students. I absolutely loved my time at UCLA. The campus is spectacular. I never felt more at peace than when I sat on those lush, green fields of the campus.

This memory of a peaceful sheltered place was shattered this week when a gunman shot a UCLA professor in one of the engineering buildings. The years at university are supposed to be fun and careless - with the exception of caring about getting good grades. We meet new people, learn to deal with life on our own, have sleepless nights over exams (and parties), make friends for life and, most important of all, we get to know ourselves.

One thing nobody…

A Letter to My Younger Self - or: I wish someone had told me!!!

Recently, I talked with a friend about all the things we wish we had knowns as teenagers. Our formative years would have been a lot less painful, if someone had just talked to us and told us that our teen years don't define or are even an indicator for the rest of our lives. Teen girls: life is not as damatic as it seems in the ages of 14-19.

This is what I would tell my younger self:

Your social life is not over if you don't have plans for Saturday evening by Wednesday afternoon.
Boys lie.
True friends don't test your friendship.
Wear sunscreen and embrace your paleness. If not, this WILL come back to haunt you!
Don't care so much about what others think of you. They are more concerned with themselves.
Focus on school more!
Don't be sad that you can't afford brand-name clothes like some other girls at school. They don't define whether someone is a likable person.
Stand up for yourself more often. You don't need to take shit!
Pick your friends wisely.…

OMG!!!! My Book 'LAlien' is now available at the bookstore!!!!!


I had my first public reading of 'LAlien' last night! What a great experience!


Vote for me! Me! Me! Me!

I must admit: I am happy to not live in the U.S. this year. 2016 is a presidential election year, which means that the circus started about 1 1/2 years ago. Anyone who has every experienced the full two years before a presidential election in the U.S. will know what I mean. Your entire surroundings are consumed by election news, paranoia and propaganda. You suddenly see your neighbor in a new, unfavorable light because he put a sticker supporting 'the other party' on his car. You realize you work in a company filled with voters for 'the other guy'. Everyone is cautious not to say the wrong thing trying to avoid starting a political debate about why their candidate is the right one.

In 2004, when Bush was re-elected, I was a student at UCLA and experienced the presidential elections as a fairly new arrival in the U.S. for the first time. I was glued to the couch watching TV in fear of missing something. I was captivated by the aggressive, dirty politics.

In 2008, when O…

'LAlien' is now also available on Amazon for pre-order! Happy World Book Day!!!!!

My book is now available online!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


New Year's Resolutions Update

On January 4th, I posted my New Year's resolutions for 2016:

Here is a quick update on the status of those resolutions:

1) I plan on losing 6 pounds and about 1 inch around the waist by the time I have my first bridal gown fitting in the spring.
STATUS: I lost 4 of those 6 pounds. The last 2 pounds just don't want to go away! Argh! I have less than a month until my fitting!!!

2) I want to hang on to the lost weight and inches until I acutally get married. :)
STATUS: See 1)

3) I want to publish my first book before the summer!
STATUS: I got my book prototype a few weeks ago and I am ready to give the go-ahead for the final print!!! The excitement is building!!! I hope my book will be on the bookstore shelves and online by the end of April!

4) I want to eat less chocolate. I can't get really specific about this goal. Anything less than the current amount is a success.
STATUS: I think I can say I have been successful here. However, not due to my strong will power but rather du…

The Prototype is here!!!!!!!!!!!


Fear: The F-Word in Writing and Publishing

As I get closer to the point of giving my 'go' to publish my book, I feel the fear getting more intense every day. Some excitement too of course but the fear is big. What am I so afraid of? The fears of publishing a book - and not just a book but a memoir! - are manyfold.

I am afraid people will not like my book, which could be a rejection of my writing skills or they are telling me that my life is not nearly as interesting as I thought it was.
I also suspect that there are some 'friends' out there who may want to see me crash and burn and feel validated in their superiority by my 'failure'.
I am afraid people will not buy my book as making money from doing what you love to do is also a form of recognition. It's important that I like my book first - and I do - and validation from the outside should only be secondary. But let's be real, we like being validated by others.
I am afraid people will give me poor reviews online. Reviews are permanent and publ…