Archive | March 2009

My First Book Review

I love books. I love historical novels. And I love the Outlander series written by Diana Gabaldon. So when I was asked to do a bookreview for Joyful Jubilant Learning I immediately knew which book I wanted to write about.

On the other hand I was quite a bit terrified – this is my first book review I’ve ever done at all, and also the first one I did in English, my second language. I hope I could meet the challenge!

I would be awfully glad if you could pop over to my book review on JJL. Any comments will be welcomed!

Friedrichstraße on a Sunday

Friedrichstraße on a Sunday. Photo: Ulla Hennig

Friedrichstraße on a Sunday. Photo: Ulla Hennig

Sunday morning, even in a big city like Berlin, is still something special. The Friedrichstraße, which is very busy on a weekday, is quiet. No cars, and almost no people.

I am no early bird, but walking along the Friedrichstraße on a Sunday morning is worth getting up a bit earlier than usual. The atmosphere is very peaceful. In Germany, shops are normally closed on a Sunday (there are a few exceptions during the year when there is a big fair in town or another important event), and tourists who flock the street between Monday and Saturday are still enjoying their breakfast.

Friedrichshagen – A Place full of History

Friedrichshagen. Photo: Ulla Hennig

Friedrichshagen. Photo: Ulla Hennig

Friedrichshagen now is a district of Berlin. It is situated near the Müggelsee (Lake Müggelsee).

Founded in 1753 by Frederick II, King of Prussia, it once was a village of cotton spinners from Bohemia and Silesia.

In 1880 it became a climatic spa with a lot of beergardens, mansions and bathing areas. People from Berlin made trips to Friedrichshagen on the weekend in order to get some fresh air and nature.

In 1920 Friedrichshagen was incorporated into “Big Berlin”.

Today, when I visit Friedrichshagen, I still get that feeling of being completely out of Berlin, in a totally different world. And then I take the train back and – whoosh – I am again in the middle of the big, noisy city. Quite a contrast!

In the Morning of my Life

Do you know this: you listen to the music of the time when you were young and you suddenly remember – the wild parties, the trouble you had with some teachers, your girl friend leaving the room with the good looking boy whom you never would have dared to talk to.

“In the Morning of my Life”, a song from the year 1967, remembers me of a trip to Munich in 1969 with our class, sitting on the steps of the boarding house and listening to Esther and Abi Ofarim. Somebody had brought a record player with him, and somebody else some records. We sat there, listened to “our” music and felt like lonely rebels. I was 16 then…

At that time it was the clear voice of Esther Ofarim which made me love that song. Today it reminds me of the “morning of my life”.

Which are the songs of your “Morning of your life”?

Arabian Beauty

Arabian Horse. Charcoal Drawing and Photo: Ulla Hennig

Arabian Horse. Charcoal Drawing and Photo: Ulla Hennig

I love horses. I always did.

There was a stud near my hometown in the south of Germany. I remember going there with my father, who loved horses, too. We went there in spring, when the horses were allowed to leave the stable and go on the pastures. We stood there, waiting for the herd of horses galloping by. You could feel their joy of running free.

There were also some Arabian stallions in the stud, and I loved their beauty – the mixture of strenght and elegance. Some of this beauty I tried to catch in the drawing above.

8 Things I am up to

After having read Joanna Young’s blog post about the 8 things she is up to I first thought “My list will never comprise 8 things”. I sat down, took a pen in my hand and began to write.

When I was finished I had 8 things and I want to share them with you:

  1. I am writing a book review for the Joyful JubilantLearning Blog. I don’t want to go into detail here, because I want you to read it – so keep watching the JJL  Blog. Besides you can find exciting book reviews there every day in March.
  2. I never did a book review in my life, so this is quite hard work, and takes some of my free time.

  3. I found out that I have to balance work, blogging and the world outside the internet. There are times at work when I can do some blog reading or looking at my wordpress stats, but writing blog posts must be done in my free time after work. But this free time is also important for meeting friends, taking walks and shooting pictures, and – doing the necessary household chores. There is a world outside the internet for me. On the other hand I also want to improve the quality of my blog. So I will have to do some thinking on how to get balanced.
  4. Since February I have been putting up a monthly schedule of blog posts – doing the planning of posts at the beginning of the month. I use the “schedule” tool of WordPress which enables me to write blog posts when I have got the time to do it. However I found out that there must be also room for spontaneous posts (like this one, actually). How much can and should be planned? I’ve got to find that out.
  5. I wrote the text for my “about” page more than a year ago. My blog has evolved since that time – I’ve got to adjust my “about” page.
  6. Ulla Hennig’s Weblog now has a mixture of photos, drawings, music-videos and even short stories. Is this the proper mixture? Too less photos? Too many music videos? Should I write more? I’ve got to find that out.
  7. Regarding photos: Up to now I went on a walk and maybe had the camera with me; I haven’t been on planned photo trips yet – bridges, parks, city life, the different districts. That would mean a lot more planning – do I want that?
  8. Up to now I neglected SEO regarding  internal linking. I will go through my blog posts during the coming weeks and insert internal links.
  9. I haven’t always assigned tags and categories – something which also makes it easier to find my blog posts. I will go through my blog posts and add them.

Well, there’s a lot of work which waits to be done…

Whoever reads this blog post can consider himself to be tagged: Think of 8 things you are up to!

Looking across the River Spree

At the banks of the River Spree. Photo: Ulla Hennig

At the banks of the River Spree. Photo: Ulla Hennig

On me water has fascinating effects. It gives me the feeling of being on holidays. It calms me, it takes away the stress. I enjoy the different shades of blue, the sound of it, the movement of it – from a slight ripple to the beating of waves against rocks.

It might be a river, it might be a lake, and it might be the sea – water is just beautiful!

Just an Old Church

Church in Stralau, Berlin. Photo: Ulla Hennig

Church in Stralau, Berlin. Photo: Ulla Hennig

If I am asked to describe Berlin, I don’t answer with one sentence. One sentence would be to short for describing Berlin.

Berlin is – the capital of Germany with a lot of modern buildings;

Berlin is: a place with a lot of historical buildings having been created in the 19th century;

Berlin is: a conglomeration of small villages with village greens, small houses with only two floors and – village churches. The church in the photo above is such a village church. Stralau once was a village of fishermen. Now it is a place with a lot of newly built houses for well-off people. But this church still reminds me of the past.

Writing Lessons

The first thing I learned was that it was a proper decision to blog in English – which is not my native language. I did this after a period of blogging in two languages. I remember very well how I discussed this possibility with Joanna Young who gave me the advice to just try it out. I tried it out and, after a few blog posts, decided to change from Blogger to WordPress and to write in English. That was my first writing lesson: Writing is tightly tied to culture, and just translating a German blogpost into the English version simply won’t do it. I had to write in a completely different way.

The second thing I learned was that my English was accepted. I posted a lot of photos, and the writing that went with them was quite short. So the number of mistakes was limited by the number of words written. Still I was afraid of not being able to deliver. ‘The people coming to my blog encouraged me to continue with my blog posts, telling me not to bother about my language capacities.

The third thing I learned was that presenting my photos was a part of my blogging. I published a poem (in a sudden attack of audacity) and two very, very short stories. Again I got encouraging feedback and support. I published some pastel drawing which I had done a few years ago. Again I was afraid – would my “products” be good enough for the public? And again I got reactions which made me blush.

And that’s the last and most important thing I learned: To try out new things, to overcome my fear. The steps I had to do myself, but I needed and still need my various blogging friends in order to evaluate my steps, to get an orientation for the paths I will take. So: A big Thank you to Joanna Young, Robert Hruzek , Brad Shorr, Karen Swim, Rosa Say and Janice Cartier!

This is a contribution to Joanna Young’s group writing project: Writing Lessons

Vivaldi,The Four Seasons: Spring

Spring is coming, and Vivaldi’s “Spring” is just the right music to celebrate this season. Enjoy!