I will give love

It’s hard to admit that it wasn’t it
I broke into pieces
When you left me here

I held my love in my cold, cold hands
The love that I wished knew no end

So help me, Lord
I feel so alone
I lost my soul
Since he’s been gone

I held my love in my empty, empty heart
The love that I wished could survive

But I will grow into flowers, clouds and wind
To help me redeem all my past sins
And I will forget about all that I did
And I will give love
Though never receive

a night with you

After the curtain call
We let the sun in
Bathed in the morning light
Our bodies skin to skin

Come now, don’t hold back
We’ll have an eternal feast
Grab all that you can eat
Bitter, sour or sweet

For blessed are those who dine with the gods
Damned are those who don’t drink their wine
If you’re ready
I am too
Let the sacrifice be made

East from the seven seas
A garden lays ahead
Carrying our sins
We walk through its holy gates

Come now, we’re going down
Stepping from pedestals
Leave your pride far behind
Spread your wings and fly

We’re made in the image of the gods
So why we don’t ever feel enough?
If you let go
I will too
Will the dreams and fears come true

Heaven

 

Have you ever wondered

Why the wind runs so wild?

An enchanted breath of gods

Playing like a child

 

Oh, how much I miss those days

When I was young and free

Always laughing, always charmed

And forever the wind I’ll be

 

Have you ever wondered why

The sky is so damn high?

Ever tempting yet unsure

Am I wrong or is there more?

 

We all wonder, we all guess

Sometimes more and sometimes less

Is it the biggest of all lies

That we’ll end up in the sky?

 

***

Hey guys! So I decided to experiment with words a bit more than usual here. I hope you enjoyed it!

Let me know what you think!

Bloody Tuesday

Having a needle in your arm and feeling a bit weak and lightheaded is not the most comfortable way to spend your time. But knowing that you might be saving someone’s life makes it worth it.

I can’t really say when I decided I wanted to give blood. A friend here, a friend there talked about it or gave blood. It was somewhere at the back of my mind that was resurfacing now and again. 

I did my first research how to get to it a few years ago. Sadly, I wasn’t eligible as a donor needs to weight more than 50 kg. So I let it go. Until now, that is. I am now an owner of a solid 50.5 kg body and to celebrate this fact I signed up as a donor. 

The registration process is quite simple and doesn’t take much time. Choosing time and location in London does. Because you can’t go during working hours (here choosing a spot is easy peasy) because you’re going on holiday, because you have a BJJ competition or because you’re partying the whole weekend. So I scheduled my appointment 3 months ahead. And here it finally came. 

The day before I got a friendly text with a link about how to prepare for the donation. On the day, just a reminder to eat well and drink plenty of water. It is not advisable to exercise on the day of your donation or even the day before. 

Once you show up to your appointment you need to read through a welcoming brochure to get to know how the whole process works and what are the potential risks. It is also available online. In the waiting room, there are plenty of snacks and drinks to take care of while you’re waiting. 

After they call your name you go with a very friendly nurse to an examination room to see if you’re eligible. So they stab your finger and squeeze a drop of blood out of it to conduct a simple blood test. If you pass the test you can go straight to the donation room. 

It was a nice surprise to me how relaxed the atmosphere was. The doctors and nurses circled between the chairs, tubes, documents, and people. I climbed onto a dentist-like chair and sacrificed my arm on an armrest. The nurse measured my blood pressure again and instructed me on some minor exercises to do during the donation. I also needed to clench and open my fist to make the blood flow easier. They also recommend clenching and unclenching the buttocks to make it even more fun. 

blood

I absolutely cannot watch a needle in my arm so once the nurse got a hold of it I looked the other way. To further distract myself I put on a video on Youtube with some puppies, I’ll link it below. In total, I had a needle in my arm for about 15 minutes and I didn’t look at it once. 

When the time came another nurse came to take the needle out and put the bag with my blood aside. I didn’t expect the bag to be so big! It was nearly a pint of blood, but still, I have never seen so much blood before, even if contained in a bag. 

After the donation, they take you back to the waiting room and give more drinks and snacks and keep an eye on you if you feel bad. I drank a cup of water and after sitting for a few minutes I got going as I was already late to meet my friend. 

We went to a nearby restaurant and I got a big burger to get some iron into my system because, you know, doctor’s orders. I also drank a liter of water to refill the fluids in my body. 

burger

In general, I felt fine, just got really tired in the tube and I was yawning every 5 minutes. I slept like a log, though. The next day was ok too, but I still felt tired and a bit lightheaded when I did a sudden movement. No BJJ training happen, but a lot of food and water did. 

For a final touch, I just want to say that I am grateful that I have a healthy body and because of that I can help others in need. Accidents happen every day and every day someone needs blood. It could be me, it could be you, it could be someone you love. So if you’re eligible to give blood and want to spread some love and kindness, don’t hesitate, it is not a bad experience. And if you don’t feel like doing it alone, maybe we can go together next time! 

Love you all,
SW

Register as a donor: https://www.blood.co.uk/

Distract yourself during the donation with this video:

La vie en rose

Quand il me prend dans ses bras
Qu’il me parle tout bas
Je vois la vie en rose 

France has this unique atmosphere that it’s hard to explain unless you’ve been there. The chic and messiness, couture and leisure, wine and car traffic. I honestly can’t explain it.
I recently I got away for the weekend to visit my friend in Lille. For the first time, I traveled with Eurostar, at the average speed of 280 km/h… The trip from London to Lille takes 1.5 h. And you go under the sea. This is all hella exciting.
I spent my Friday wandering around Lille, which is not as big as I expected. I landed at the Lille Europe underground station, which is one of the coolest tube stations I’ve seen. Check it out:

tube

Afterward, I found myself in a cemetery, which, by looking at the map, I thought was a park. An honest mistake. It was beautiful though. With the golden leaves illuminated by the morning sun. I walked around the graves and mausoleums and wondered about life and death, soul and body, forgotten people and forgotten faces.

grave1 grave2

I grabbed a croissant on my way to the old town and strolled to the old town. I passed old apartment buildings that sang about French glory and prosperity. The opera house is quite impressive, but I don’t have a good picture of it, unfortunately.
My friend gave me a tourist map with some landmarks highlighted, so my next stop was a cathedral on the side of the city center. I went there all curious and…

monster
This thing. Honestly. You walk around the city full of wonders and then there’s this. I nearly cried. I got away from it as fast as I could.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My nerves were soon soothed when I found this beautiful square right behind the monster.

cute
I had plenty of time on my hands so I tried to get into the house De Gaulle was born in (didn’t know he was from Lille), but they’re renovating it at the moment. I took a detour and went to investigate the Citadel, but all I found was a circus (?) and a small stream around. I could not find an entry to the park that apparently surrounds the Citadel.
I ate an awesome lunch in the main square with an obligatory glass of wine. I was in France after all.
I went back to my friends flat and took a nap waiting for her to finish her classes at uni.
In the evening we went for a dinner and I have to recommend the restaurant, La Petite Cour, that we went to. Fantastic food, wine, and chocolate cake.
We took a little walk around the city on our way home. There was an old warehouse, or at least it looked like it, that was turned into a nightclub and my friend wanted to check it out. We found ourselves crashing a random metal concert of some WhatsTheirName band from I think Ireland. First time in my life I wore sound stoppers during a concert. At the last song the band invited people on stage, so obviously I jumped up and went crowd surfing to end the show. Fun times, I tell ya.

For the next day, we planned to go sightseeing Lille, maybe visit some museum or whatever. Instead, we thought about going to Paris. You can’t say no to Paris. We got there quite late, around 2 pm, as it was a purely spontaneous decision, but we were in Paris!

sw
We went to Montmartre, Canal Saint-Martin, Bataclan, Place de la Bastille, Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris. We ate some Indian dinner and headed to Arc de Triomphe and from there to the Eiffel Tower.

arc 252E3059-2278-41EE-A9BE-71B553DA13AC
We got home around 1 am dead tired but happy.

Next stop: Bruges.

bruges2
We went there as a group of five. Bruges is even smaller than Lille. It is absolutely lovely with the canals cutting the streets and washing over the doll-like houses. We ate fries and waffles for lunch. No regrets.

The day was far from over and we felt done with the city so we went to the seaside.
Standing on the beach we heard the sea calling. We ran barefoot towards the waves and screamed when our feet sank into the freezing water. Childhood memories of countless summers rushed into my mind. It’s hard not feel happy and careless on a beach, no matter the temperatures.

sea
The weekend getaway ended with beer, a midnight walk around Lille, and a 6am train on Monday to London, because I needed to go to work.
Hands up who loves Paris! Hands up who loves Bruges! Hands up who loves Lille! What are your memories from those places? Let me know!
All best,
SW

Tubingen reunion

Time is a curious thing. It’s the digits on my phone. It’s a date in my calendar. It is a feeling. It’s an element out of control. It slows down when you want it to gallop. It rushes through when you want it to stop. A year can be a number of months, days, hours. It is a frame for emotions, experiences, people you’ve met, places you’ve been. How long is a year for you?

Two years ago, I met three extraordinary women that have been changing my life since. It has also been a year since I last saw them. A year is a number here. I didn’t feel it at all.

We gathered in a small town in southern Germany. Tubingen. It is a name you probably never came across before. I haven’t. It welcomed us with the sun. It opened its arms and we walked across its narrow streets and steep hills, we swam down it river.

tubingen river

Most of all we talked, discussed, laughed and argued. Each of us is on a different path now. We are spread across Europe. Yet, we come together when it matters most. No topic was left untouched. We complained about governments, politicians, policies. We debated how to change what we don’t like, how to improve what we can. We talked about love. We talked about struggle.

We talked about what it means to be a woman. Feminism, motherhood, career, tenderness. Everything together, yet each a piece of a puzzle. Nothing defining, nothing limiting, nothing forgiving.

We talked about the future. We shared dreams, fears, and hope. We shared life.

I am grateful and honoured to have them in my life. One year separated, three days together. I feel closer to them than ever. They are a support group I wish everyone had. They are a brainstorm everyone needs. They are the power that the world demands.

Here we all are, surrounded by flowers and light. Their arms wrapped around me. My heart wrapped around them. A blessing for all. The brightest of souls.

us bridge

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