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Showing posts from 2016

Giving Thanks Every Day

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Thanksgiving always reminds me just how much I have to be thankful for in my life. This year was, however, tougher than usual. My 99-year-old grandfather is slowing succumbing to age, dementia and anxiety replacing his once jovial and robust personality. It was absolutely crushing spending three days with him, knowing that he is in agony. He has "lived too long" and cannot remember everything like he used to. It was a test of strength to be with him, but it reminded me of something incredibly valuable: compassion. I was not always able to keep my composure, but I tried to be compassionate despite the frustration and mental anguish. If I were in his shoes, I have no idea what I would do, but I would hope my family would treat me kindly.

So while I am thankful for all the usual things like a roof over my head, food to eat, sources of income, my dear friends and other things, I am even more thankful this year that I had a chance to see things from a different perspective. I am …

The Sword of Damocles

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I'm sure we all are familiar with the feeling of stress, but what about the extraordinary kind? The kind that robs you of sleep, ties your stomach in knots and turns you into an emotional wreck for weeks? If you have not yet to experience this, congratulations. Tell me your secrets. Currently I am so stressed I am sick and frustrated and desperately trying to get my proverbial ducks in a row.

While ducks are adorable, they only briefly distract me from my stress. Why am I so stressed, you might ask? One part of it is my brain chemistry, another part of it is conditioning, the final part is the current point at which I find myself.

I recently decided to stop taking anti-anxiety medication and while I am not anxious like I was before I began taking it this time around, I feel every single spike in my brain activity. It is often disconcerting and hard to remember such things are normal. No one can be happy and calm 100% of the time - unless they are heavily medicated, which is not my…

I Ain't Afraid of No Goats

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With the Cubs' recent victory bringing Chicago to a fever pitch, I have been thinking a lot about what sports mean to people. Depending on where you are from, how you were raised and where you are in the world, sports can be extremely important or completely uninteresting. In Berlin, where I am currently writing this post, no one has taken notice of the Cubs and their historic season of baseball. Here if you care about sports, football is obviously king, the international sport of pretty much the entire world except the U.S. There are of course some people in Chicago who could care less about the Cubs, as much as it pains me to say it, but I am not one of those people. I care. I care so much that it hurts. I was able to date a Reds fan, but a Cardinals or White Sox fan would not be possible. The rivalry is too intense. However, I no longer have to worry about these things. My German boyfriend is not a big sports guy, so "making" him a Cubs fan has been an easy sell. He l…

Unconditional Love

My dear readers,

I am lucky to say I know what unconditional love is. There are people who unconditionally love me and I them, and it is something I do not take for granted. You can be rude, lewd, hurtful and spiteful, mean and withholding, make mistakes and royally mess up - otherwise known as being human - but at the end of the day love wins out every time. Of course there are equally beautiful moments of happiness, acceptance, peace and joy, and the love you feel makes your heart swell. And just when you thought your love reached its zenith, it surpasses new heights. It is awesome and without being too maudlin, that is what life is all about. Maybe you think this is a bunch of tree hugging hippy crap, but there is something to it. Love begets more love, and conversely hate begets more hate. So once you've found love, spread it around. It's truly contagious in the best kind of way. And if know what unconditional love is, cherish it and appreciate it. You are a lucky one.

You…

My Dream Life (For Now)

Happy Sunday, my dear readers!

Today's post is a bit different, but my vision came to me in conversation with my mother and the more I mulled it over, the more I grew fond of it. I hope you will enjoy what I have to share with you and that it might inspire you to ponder your own future.

I realize now as a freshly minted 31-year-old woman, that it is good to envision what your future might look like. Perhaps it might even be helpful or insightful to think about it, knowing full well it is in the far-off utopic land existing only in your mind. It might make you realize you are ready for a change or can embrace something you were not expecting. However, it is not good to obsess about the future or incessantly worry about the inevitable. While I have my fair share of trouble with anxiety, as most of us do here and there, I certainly like daydreaming and reviewing the what-if scenarios I have imagined for myself in a perfect world. Not the oh-shit-I'm-an-adult kind of world, with u…

Long Distance Lover

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The topic of today's post is long distance relationships. This is not my first time to the rodeo, but it has been a few years since I was in a serious relationship with someone from across the pond and I felt the need to voice my opinions on the subject and share what I've learned from my relationship and from others that are in the same position.

1. Long distance relationships are no joke because they test you in ways you never thought possible. They often fill your heart with joy or sadness, as with any other kind of relationship, but LDRs also might make you question your sanity. All of a sudden you are faced with very serious choices that other couples might not make until years down the road. Do you want kids? How many kids do you want? Where do you want to live? Will you buy a house? What are the career prospects if you move? What kind of wedding will you have? How easy is it to get a visa? Do you want to change citizenship? The list is endless and for a worry-wart, plan…

Einmal Hans mit scharfer Soße, bitte!

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The title of today's post is borrowed from Turkish-German director Buket Alakuş's 2013 film Einmal Hans mit scharfer Soße.  The film is based on Hatice Akyün's autobiographical novel of the same name published in 2005.  This roughly translates to "I'd like a Hans with spicy sauce," as if you were in a restaurant ordering a Döner but instead of wanting the German-Turkish delicacy, you were in fact ordering a German man named Hans who had a little bit of a kick to him.  Both the film director and the author of the novel were born in Turkey but grew up and live in Germany, so they can be considered bi-cultural.  The title plays upon the cultural mix.

Here is why this is important (to me at least): the story is about a woman, who knows what she wants in a partner and refuses to settle for anything less. Although that is not fully the truth, because the main character is a 34-year-old Turkish-German successful career woman, Hatice, living in Hamburg who is pressu…

I Fought the Law...

...but the law won? No, wait...that can't be right. Laws are everywhere and are an established part of our daily lives. Some laws are helpful, for instance the traffic laws, which in most cases keep us from killing one another on the road. Of course there are always assholes who decide they can do whatever they want, but if there were no laws, more lives would be at risk.

Other laws are a hindrance, such as citizenship laws. I find them to be totally arbitrary. Especially since I am someone who has been living between two countries at more than one point in her life. If someone wants to be a citizen of another country, why do you have to prove your family is from that nation? Nations are just constructs - or imagined communities to reference Benedict Anderson's seminal concept from the 1980s - and the jus sanguinis requirement for citizenship is bogus. If I want to become a citizen of a country so I can live freely with my husband, but do not want to rescind my given citizens…

The One

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Dear Readers,

As you know it has been a few months since I last posted to my blog. I considered posting several times but somehow could not commit. So much has occurred in that time and I also needed time to heal from a rather traumatic event. I was not dating really at all since my last short relationship ended in March. I was communicating with someone online for months and finally met that person but I was disappointed with how things turned out. However, as fate would have it, the unexpected happened. After countless failed relationships, bouts of online dating, years of melancholia, lamenting my unsuccessful and stressful love life and writing about it, I met "the One."

How do I know he's the One, you might very well ask? I know because everything has gone so smoothly from the moment we met. I will not say everything is perfect - we all know perfection is something for which we might strive, but we are human and therefore inherently flawed so it is an unattainable, …

Spring Break for the Mind, Body and Soul

It's interesting how relationships can unearth problems you were previously unaware of about yourself, or at least make you undergo a Freudian self-psychoanalysis. I am beginning to think my anxiety has ruined all of my relationships. I have not been on medication in years and I am loathe to start that kind of "therapy" again but I wonder what I would be like in a relationship if I worried less and went with the flow more. But I keep thinking life is too short to waste time so why not make fun plans and have an organized social life? Live life to the fullest and enjoy every moment while you can. An opportunity presents itself, you take it. I am a bit like a yes-person because I want to do it all, especially in a relationship. It can be hard to "dial it down" or swallow the proverbial chill pill in a brand new relationship. I am an enthusiastic, passionate person, and plans help me spend time with the person I'm romantically involved with and organize my tim…

The Ring of Reflection - A Rejected "Modern Love" Submission

My dear readers, I submitted a short essay I wrote to the New York Times "Modern Love" column. It was turned down (see note below), but at least I tried. And now I get to share what I wrote with you here! 
"Dear Tina Schultz, Thank you for sending your writing to Modern Love. Although I don't find your essay right for our needs, I'm grateful for the opportunity to consider it. I regret that the volume of submissions we receive makes it impractical for me to offer editorial feedback.  Best wishes,
Daniel Jones, Modern Love editor"
Mr. Jones, that was such a classy rejection, I can't be upset. Maybe I'll try and submit something again soon. The essay is a bit longer than my usual posts, but I would appreciate it if you stuck with me until the end. Enjoy! 

Christina Schultz The Ring of Reflection January 2016
I decided to celebrate my thirtieth birthday with a bang.I was griping about the big 3-0 for months but in typical Tina fashion, I turned my anxiety …

Road trippin'

Listening to music during a road trip can be an enlightening and entertaining experience. If you and your road trip partner have similar tastes, the music choices are less adventurous, but more fun for both. If you and your road trip partner have different tastes, the music choices become exciting, revealing of the person's character and so much more is at stake.

I just recently went on a road trip with both kinds of musical partners - one with one of my best friends who likes similar music and one with my boyfriend who likes different music. Both trips were great for so many different reasons, but the music in the car with my boyfriend was like a challenge to me. There were so many songs I did not know, bands I had never heard of, things I really liked I would write down on my list of music to check out. Some of his choices were surprising, but that was fine with me. The trip was all-around filled with music - B.B. King's blues club, Graceland, Sun Studio, Stax Soul Museum, t…

Tinder, thy name is wonderful

In last month's post entitled "Decisions" I said it was time to focus on myself and not on my dating game, because let's be honest, it felt like a game, or maybe more of a big joke. I had no hopes for finding true love, let alone a decent date, but Tinder, my fickle app friend, you have surpassed my wildest dreams.

I am a persistent person, despite the ups and downs, and my advice to others who are feeling down in love should just remember there are so many people who are not right for you so you will have to go on many first dates to find someone even remotely plausible. Conversely, the number of people who have the potential to be a good match is probably very small.

That being said, there are people out there whom you will meet and everything will just "click." The feeling is the stuff of dreams and I am loath to wake up. But who says the feeling cannot last indefinitely? I do not understand or enjoy the concept of "the honeymoon phase" of a re…

Hey jealousy

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A sad day it is indeed when you come to the realization you harbor feelings of jealousy, that you are not truly happy for others when they have what you want, or what you think you want. Even though I am not religious, I still want to use the word un-Christian to describe such a phenomenon. I know it is a natural human experience, one of the common core feelings, just like love, hate, anger, fear, sadness (I sound like I'm listing the characters from Disney's "Inside Out"...sigh), etc. Why do these feelings of jealousy arise? Why do I feel guilty after the jealous feelings subside? How does one deal with such feelings? I think my general approach lately has been to accept that certain undesirable mental states or thoughts are a part of life and that they will pass. If you pull a Gandalf ("you shall not pass") you're in for trouble. Take a George Harrison approach instead ("all things must pass"). I know I discussed a romanticized version of je…