A couple of weeks, another operation and countless of check-ups later: things are much better. TheDaughter has had all neccessary procedures and we‘ve had our last appointment at the hospital today. *insert dance* After going there every other day for three weeks it has become part of a routine that we‘ll gladly fill with something more pleasant. (Even though we quite enjoyed having to deal with all the eye-candy working there – hotties of all ages. She even asked me if „being a model is a job-description“ there).

And we dealt with all the inquisitive questions there. After developing some standard-replies, we were fine: She is on holiday here. She is living with me. She‘ll be flying home soon. (Outside of the hospital we were confronted by sharp analyses such as: What… you are NOT her mother? You look alike and your english is so good. Aha.)

Some nurses thought I was the mum who‘d send her daughter traveling without insurance and treated me like crap. As soon as I put them straight, I seemed to be The Holy Shit – which made me really mad at times. This was about a young girl who had to go through an emergency alone in a foreign country. No need to treat me like anything because you think you know the story.

I have had several meetings with the finance division and the last one (including daughter) solved it all: we simply left them with TheDad‘s name, adress and phone-no. He screwed up, let them pester him. (Admittedly, we had an evil laugh moment when we left the building).

TheDaughter looked wild for a while, swollen – with a huge plaster around her neck… even after all the drains were out. People (not just kids) stared at her when we walked down the road. Coincidentally, my dad had to have a medical procedure a few days later (all is well) and emerged with a similar plaster on his neck. Family comes in many forms I guess, haha.

We‘ve had several family dinners and my niece is smitten with her – now that she‘s entered school (a whole different heartbreak to attend the first day ceremonies… but we‘re not going there today) we‘re practising english a whole lot recently.

Besides that, we have made the most of it. Scoured flea-markets & art shows, visited castles (sand or ancient) and local wine-fests, took long walks, had breakfast all over town, had movie nights… complete with nailpolish and face-masks. Because I was behind on work a lot during that time (figures, as each hospital appointment involved a one hour wait) she co-habitated between the gay buddy and my place.

It‘s „funky“ (to say the least) to have conversations with your gay friend – a guy in his 50s – like this:
Me: After our roadtrip next weekend… is it OK if I bring her back on sunday, around seven?
Him: *giggles happily* How & when did that happen between us?

We have been able to trace her return ticket, so all is going well on this front. She‘ll be flying home next week and we have tons planned until then. Considering that what I hear from her „home“ is worrying, depressing, heart-breaking and sometimes pathetic and downright shocking, I decided not to write about it. Not my story to tell… but I can‘t deny it‘s weighing on me. After hearing some of those things I can’t help but to have a wee cry as soon as I come home. I always knew my life was happy and sheltered and I was lucky to have a great family. With 17, I lived in a happy bubble. I was already working a job…. but effectively I was still a kid that had no idea of the real gut-kicks of life.

And sometimes it‘s hard to put myself into her shoes, because…. uuhm, where do I start?

For now though, I do what I learned to do:
Breathe in and breathe out.
Let all those feelings sit beside me on the couch and be.

Just be.

First off, let me thank you for your comments and emails (cusswords and all) regarding my last post. Read them tons of times. It‘s now a few weeks later and she is still here. We were busy exploring the city or going on roadtrips. We have visited ancient walls, old castles, busy towns, fleamarkets and shops. We have crossed borders by foot, walked tons and laughed a lot.

But this week we were in for a rather dramatic turn. It all started a few days ago when she experienced some pain close to her wisdom tooth. Within a day it was so swollen, we had no other choice to visit a dentist. He found a big abscess one a molar… had to cut it open and let it drain. We all thought the worst was over…

At the next check-up the abcess had grown again – and moved downwards and into the jawbone. So as I sit clueless at work I get a call from the doctor‘s office:
This is a life-threatening situation.
She needs an operation today.
Come pick her up and bring her to the big clinic.

It took me over an hour to get to my car to pick her up. Gut-kicking as life is: I was working right beside the hospital she was referred to. But miles away from my car and even further away from where she was. Which was probably good, as I was too shaken up at first. By the time I got to her, I was the pretend-optimistic me, distracting her from the pain by telling her my most embarrassing and funny hospital stories from abroad. (sans scary parts, of course).

In the walk-in section for the jaw-specialists (fuck knows how you call that) we were led through a series of exam rooms with a handful of doctors prodding and testing, squeezing and pricking her. I never left her side even though most of the doctors could speak english… I wanted to make sure that she was in the picture at all times. Because, see above, I know how terrifying it is to be abroad and about to be cut by someone whose language you don‘t understand.

And they were serious… Someone actually said: Surgery cannot wait until tomorrow. After that, they put us through a few more hours of exams, talks abut risks, going back and forth to see yet more doctors (and having to translate the same risks again) before she was put under and finally operated. Thanks a fucking lot.

And there were those constant questions….
So, she‘s on vacation here, but you have custody? Yes and No. She lives with you? As of right now, yes. Are you her aunt? Employer? No and Nope. Is she your daughter? Doesn‘t she speak our language? Where are the parents? Good one! We need a legal guardian here. No shit. Why is there no health isurance card? [Rinse and repeat… over and over]

At one time I had referred to her as „my friend“, so one nurse refused to disclose further details to me. So I told her to tick the Ex-Sorta-Stepmom box on her form and please fill me in, because… obviously there is nobody else here. Fuck.

I had asked the girl about the specifics of the travel insurance TheDad had booked for the two of them. Wouldn‘t you know it, he‘s taken that info home with him when he took off – and probably lost it by now. Besides that, he‘s already back on the road – pharmacy shopping or the likes – and most likely didn‘t even spare the dime for a proper travel insurance to start with.

Fuck him.
I can‘t say that one enough…

This morning, the finance-department of the hospital called right away and informed me that we had to make the first payment today. A not-so friendly voice told me to come by the office immediately and put down a prepayment of 4000 Euro. My dry laugh only resulted in the offer: Of course we accept credit cards. (cue more laughter) And proceeded with: And why is there no copy of her passport? We need you here asap with the passport.

My polite but equally not-so-friendly self informed her that indeed I was next door but as they had advised us the previous day (where btw they had the passport) to leave valuables with relatives as opposed to store them in the room. That I would stop by tomorrow with the passport and adress but definitely wouldn‘t be forking out 4000 Euro.

10 minutes later (and my anger-vein still throbbing) another lady from the same office calls me and – as if the previous conversation hadn‘t happened – went through the same sentences but ordered me in at noon and with 2000 Euro in my pocket. I told her to talk to her colleague and see you tomorrow.

Can I say FUCK THAT one more time?

Today the girl was feeling „better“ aka switching between woozy and out-of-it – but in less pain. Operation went well… they cut open the side of her neck and insert a drain for a few days, so she looks wild and will have a scar as souvenir. She will have to have another operation next week, though that will be done under local anaesthesia.

I can probably take her home on saturday… and in the meantime I supplied her with english books and more humiliating health stories from my travels. I can‘t even put into words how I feel now… but I had to get this out.

It feels like I was catapulted into a different kind of life. In august, of all times.
But just like 6 years ago… I breathe in and I breathe out.
I do what needs to be done. And hope that all will be good….

It‘s been a shock to realize I haven‘t written here in nearly a year. Even more so counting the times I have written a blogpost in my head… But I guess life got in the way and things were happening way too fast to catch up with words.

It all started a few months ago when TheDad announced that he‘d come here for holidays with his daughter. He was allegedly clean for a few weeks and wanted to visit the grave without being drugged. He wanted to show his 17yo daughter the city where he lived and travel around Europe with her.

That was the plan. I only answered once to his countless emails to tell him not to contact me while he was here. That I‘m glad he gets to visit the grave and show his daughter bits of his old life, but I wasn‘t going to be part of it. After all, he was only going to be here for three days, right? Blink and he‘s gone. He said he wanted to talk to me in person and if we could possibly meet at the grave? Hell, no…. No need to hear one more word.

Well, first it worked out well. I lived my life and tried not to freak out about him being in the same city. But then, three days became three weeks and I got tired of looking over my shoulder… until a friend called me to say that TheDad had relapsed and left his daughter alone. They didn‘t know where he was – or if he was stil alive for that matter.

He. Had. Left. Her.

Alone in a strange city with a language she doesn‘t speak. Again: she is 17 and had to see him high as fuck on heroin. I can‘t even describe how angry that made me. Didn‘t he lose enough already? Here he was… having his long-lost daughter back in his life and what does he do? Abandon her, for fuck‘s sake! It took me ten minutes to be on my bike and on my way to meet her. I wasn‘t out to be a replacement-parent, I simply figured she needs all the support she can get.

And it was lovely… we are getting along very well and have been talking several times every day since (that was sunday). I don‘t want to tell her what to do now (had to restrain myself from saying things like „you gotta call home“) – so until she figures out what to do we‘re here for her. I‘m glad we got her to at least tell her grandma (my ex-mil) – I‘m relieved someone from the family knows.

For now she‘s sleeping at my friend‘s house, where she is safe and sound. I will take her on a little roadtrip over the weekend and show her some pretty spots down south.

This morning grandma called and said TheDad had landed back in the homeland. In absolute horrendous condition from withdrawals. I don‘t know if I should be relieved for her because he didn‘t kill himself or if I should be even angrier – because: he flew home without her!!!!! (Not enough exlamation marks here!)

Well, I can tell YOU one thing: I‘m glad he didn‘t choose to check out here… after all, he doesn‘t have much else to lose, right? I always had a weird feeling when I visited Sky‘s grave. With his birthday coming up on the 19th I didn‘t need any more stress really. (Insert a: Can you fucking believe it‘s been SIX years?). It‘s already weird enough to suddenly have his other kid in my life… in August of all months. She looks so much like her dad – and I can‘t help but to wonder whether Sky would have resembled her. It pains me to think about it…

But I cannot possibly do nothing and ignore that she‘s here. She needs people by her side… and for now, me and the gay buddy will have to make do. The thing is… I can‘t even try to put myself into her shoes, as the situation is so majorly fucked up, it blows my mind.

*breathe in…. breathe out*

I‘m probably all over the place and less coherent… but I needed to get that out. And I will have to embark on a vacuuming mission to cool down my anger. Now.

I feel honored to be a guestwriter on Glow In The Woods this week: Alone.



It‘s hard to believe that I‘m living the life of a dead-baby-mom for 5 years already. Today is Sky‘s birthday and due to 2 leap years since, it‘s a sunday – again. And while I feel like a grieving pro, this real-time schedule of those 5 days has a whole new power of buttkick. Had his last birthdays have always resulted in massive crafting sessions, this year there was simply too much work to craft a lot. But that shouldn‘t stop me from hosting another give-away in my son‘s name (like 2010 and 2011).

So I skipped everything this weekend and only do what feels right. The usual routine: Lots of crafting projects lined up, countless dvds and books on hold… the proven butt-kicking-grief kit. Add a few home-improvement missions, switch on the music and whenever there‘s a song I (even sorta) like, I force myself to sing along and dance. Will the sadness to ease.

Yesterday morning I went to the graveyard first thing (well, it was 11am, that tells you a lot about me I guess) and brought him some flowers (same for me) and a little windmill. My parents had planted something in his jardiniere while I was traveling. And despite the scorching heat it still looks lovely!

I like the solitude of mornings on the graveyard… only a handful of people watering, planting, picking or cleaning up. The street sounds are muffled by the surrounding trees, squirrels run around and the world moves a little slower. No one cares about the occasional sniffle and soliloquies (seriously, what a tricky word… never heard it before and not sure I‘ll ever get around to use it even tough I do it frequently).

Walking across the graveyard to visit my son still makes me alienated about my life. It‘s not to be supposed that way. Forced to live in the half-world of being a parent who‘s not parenting. Maybe never will. Doomed… and there is no arm to hack off to escape. So what to do? Work with what you have and make your life as comfortable as can be. I‘ll breathe in and out, knowing this weekend will pass too.


I fell in love with the umbul-umbul flags on Bali. They are everywhere, reaching high above the houses and temples, adding even more colour to the beautiful mix. Amongst other things, the umbul-umbul represent the hope for a tomorrow that is kinder than today. And I‘m all for that.

I knew I had to have some in my life and it took me a while of market-scouting to track down some flags small enough to fit an already overstretched backpack. The pictured flags reach from my elbow to my fingertips, so they are small enough for even a tiny balcony, which I hope to have one day.

But lets be honest: I don‘t know when I‘ll ever have my own balcony. I have slanted windows everywhere and the flags don‘t fit in. It would be a shame to incarcerate them here when they have a purpose to fulfil: be outside and sway in the wind. So I quickly decided to let them go, send them out to the big world and share them with you. I know some of you have a house with garden and I‘d much rather know the flags will find a good home there.

I found out that red stands for bravery and yellow for eternity. No idea about the orange… but now you, dear readers and lurkers simply get to choose your favourite colour and tell me in the comment section. I‘ll leave this post open for a week and do a draw for the three lucky winners. Please don‘t be shy to comment because you‘ve never commented before / already won some of my give-aways / insert whatever reason… You want it, tell me!

emotional transit

I have been back at home for two weeks already and despite the wonderful time on the road I couldn‘t help to feel a little tongue-tied. There was lots on my mind and even more work to dive into right away and that made the transit last longer…

I had a lovely reunion with nomad friends, attended their beautiful wedding, spend countless hours on the beach, roamed temples and palaces, had delicious street food, went shopping on the markets and was just happy to spent quality time with my friend and her family. We met traveling 15 years ago and Indonesia was our 10th country together. We‘ve had many adventures before but this year‘s was completely different: traveling with kids.

Clockwise: Fishing boats in Kalibukbuk | My favourite melon soft drink, Lovina | Cuteness waiting for ice cream | My bedroom for the last 3 days: rooftop, Balian | Side street in Singaraja


I wasn‘t really scared what the presence of kids would do to me… I love these kids. They made me smile and giggle everyday but they also made that void tangible. A little boy was missing and I can see where he‘s supposed to be in the photos I‘ve taken. Compared to last time I didn‘t write Sky‘s name in the sand once. But that doesn‘t mean he wasn‘t in my thoughts everyday.

Plus being surrounded by a bunch of totally-into-each-other couples, I couldn‘t help but to notice a nagging feeling of loneliness. I didn‘t like that feeling (rather like to be seen as an unwavering tank on an island of single confidence) but it was undeniably there. And I wonder… is that why I dove head-first into a row of „things“ with guys? Whether it was just sex with relative strangers or a wee crush on a strange (fake) relative. And I‘m not saying I regret a thing… I was bluntly honest, I spoke my mind and it felt right doing so. But there‘s a chance that all this was the lonely-monster acting.

So for now, all I do is acknowledge the feeling in transit and let it be.

And smile.

Clockwise: Curing wedding hangover under parasol, Air Sanih | Quality time with jandals, Balian | Accidental still life with knee and insect repellent, Pemuteran | Frangipani.

When Angie started this project last year, I had just posted something that would have totally worked as a contribution.

An excerpt from that post:

I realize my grief has changed. It‘s not that constricted, choking-life-out-of-you feeling anymore. Instead it has morphed into an asthma-like discomfort, that is always by my side but doesn‘t threaten to kill me anymore.

And this is still true. I don‘t feel like my grief is killing me anymore but it‘s simply not leaving my side. There will always be days when I am a bad friend because I can‘t be dealing with anything less grave than a dead baby. There will always be days when I don‘t fit it: I feel like a sore thumb in a group of single-friends and I feel like a cheater in a group of moms. I‘m neither of those… I live on a small island of babyloss. That‘s not supposed to sound so bitter – it‘s just my reality. My fucked-up type of motherhood has it‘s own enclave – and none of us have applied for that visa.

It‘s OK really, people know me there, I have found friends that will hopefully be in my life forever (even if we might never see each other irl). There‘s no guide book to follow and it was hard to develop survival skills to find my way around. This blog and the blogs I read have been the best survival net I could have wished for. They make me feel like a normal person. They make me feel less like a freak.

But what it comes down do: He‘s still dead and that’s where I am.


In 2 weeks I‘ll be packing my bag and hauling my bum on an airplane to Indonesia. So by now I have already entered the autopilot-state. Without as many practise runs due to too much work but I‘ll have to make do with what I have. I have my vaccines done, brushed up my vocabulary, fixed my backpack, crafted a wedding-pressie for my friends and browsed through maps, guide books and blogs to figure out my route (most of it is just anticipation-planning, as in reality I know I‘ll follow the flow to plan F anyway).

I‘m giddy with excitement and await to exchange my overworkedness into a relaxed state of barefoot beach bliss. Add a friends reunion, some volcanoes, caves, jungle and heaps of good food and you see me in heaven. Postcard requests welcome – as usual.


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