Skiing down the majestic Alpine slopes in Livigno is awe-inspiring and breathtaking, once you’ve gotten over the initial paranoia. Veronica Stivalafound out that one small step soon led to one giant leap (well almost) on the pistes.Read More
Chiemsee in the south of Germany provided Veronica Stivala with a suitable mix of countryside and architectural attractions, from a palace built in the style of Versailles to an island that is home to a Benedictine nunnery and another island named after, well, cabbages.Read More
Got your running shoes on? Good! Maltese transplant Veronica Stivala takes us on a jog through her new neighbourhood and introduces us to a slice of Bavarian cultureRead More
Improvisation teaches you to be quick, both on your feet as well as mentally, but it also teaches you a lot about being open to others as well as helping them. Veronica Stivala participated in The Fifth Finland Improvisation Festival. She writes about why she thinks everyone should try improvisation at least once.Read More
With some 1,500 medieval buildings, the picturesque southeast German city of Regensburg is home to the largest Middle Ages town north of the Alps. Veronica Stivala explored its gothic architecture and picturesque river banks, and savoured its delectable food.Read More
You can make this pie using ricotta or your very own home-made gbejniet (pronounced j-(as in 'jug')-beyniet . You can read more about how to make them here. It's very easy and absolutely delicious.Read More
Gbejniet are one of Malta's typical foods. They are small cheeses and you can either buy them fresh, where they are a little blander in taste, or dried, with a more robust taste and a harder texture.Read More
I will admit, leaving my friends and family in Malta to come back to Germany was perhaps a bit more difficult this time round. I've been living in Munich for two years now and while I have made some wonderful friends here and I really do love the countryside I can access so easily, leaving family and friends who have known me since I was young was tough. I still also struggle with the language and it upsets me to have to think twice about, for instance, asking about a gym membership and I keep putting it off (oh what a good excuse for those New Year's resolutions...).
But by the time I had unpacked a few interesting things had happened. As soon as I had sat on the plane, I picked up the latest issue of the inflight magazine to find one of my articles published in it. I always take pride in seeing my work in print and always want to point out to the crew or someone on the plane, "hey, I wrote this" (though I never do). At home I was opening my three-week-old mail and found a Christmas card signed by five people at a publishing house I work for. It really touched me and I felt appreciated, even welcomed in a country I sometimes feel very alien in. And I looked back, to the magazine article, and the Christmas card, and thought how well timed they were. These were little signs that coming back would be a good thing. That there were people who appreciated me and my work.
This may sound obvious but to me it wasn't and I think that to many of us it isn't. We have a propensity to focus on the negative and not give the positive things the attention and worth they deserve. One culprit for having aggravated this is social media. Everybody seems to be either always having a better time than us - whether they really are is another matter entirely - or everything is terrible in the world. But the effects this has on us don't differ and we are often left feeling like we're leading a life inferior to others or feeling down because the world is in such a terrible state. I am by no means saying everything is fine, but I do agree our view may be distorted sometimes. We know social media has this effect on us and indeed it's almost old news, but that hasn't reduced the time we spend on social media - we spent 135 minutes a day on social media on average - nor the negative effects it can have on us.
Our interaction with social media is on the rise (we spent 126 daily minutes on social media in 2016) and I don't think the solution is quitting social media, but rather how we interact with it. You see, I have lost track of the number of times I decided to reduce my time on social media. I cannot ever quit - even though I wish I could - because I need it for my job. But even reducing time is difficult. I have spoken to countless friends who have said the same thing, some even going off it for a while, many returning after a while.
So this is why I am sharing two photos of my Christmas card and my magazine article, not because I want to show off, but because I want to encourage us to find the positive things in our lives at a time when it is more difficult than ever to do so:
The reasons we try to quit is because we are aware that social media paints an unreal portrait of the fantastic lives we all seem to be living and even of the news. We've known this for years, but now it is official that social media is bad for our health. Facebook itself has admitted that social media can harm mental health.
I was inspired by an article I read by India Knight on the subject. Reading a foul detail pertaining to a court case or seeing a picture of something terrible can ruin our day, she says. And none of us is immune. Essentially what she says is that there is something we can do about it by being careful who we follow. Knight is talking specifically about news, but the same logic can easily be applied to everything posted on social media.
If negative posts are upsetting you, unfollow the source. Follow people and organisations who post things you like and make you feel good. And cats, of course. Always cats. The same applies the other way round. Do think about what you are posting. This is the reason I want to write. I want my writing to make people happy, to teach something perhaps, or just make an interesting read.
So what made you happy today?
The reason for writing this post is because I want to it to serve as encouragement for more to travel, to travel to China.Read More
Luminescent magenta trees at the botanical gardens, pink-lit gravestones, shrouded by blue trees and stone archways accentuated by green, yellow, blue and red lighting; the city of Munich donned festive attire last Saturday for a special night. Blessed with perfect warm weather during the day, the setting sun served as an apt prelude to a cool autumn evening, on the Long Night of Museums (Die Lange Nacht Der Münchner Museen).
From architecture, to music, clubs, shopping, fitness and this time museums, The Long Night of… series in Munich have proved a popular outing among locals and tourists alike. The set-up is simple – you buy a €15 ticket which gives you access to a plethora of museums open specially from 19:00 to 02:00 as well as a shuttle bus service to all participating venues.
With some 90 museums, galleries and churches to choose from, it was naturally impossible to visit them all. I chose a few venues from the Inner City and East list – the events are conveniently grouped geographically. These were my highlights:
Behind the scenes with Gisela Stein… Deutsches Theatermuseum
Situated just off the Hoffgarten, by Odeonsplatz I discovered this museum I had previously not known of. A small, but quaint building, this museum had on display an enveloping exhibition of the radical German actress Gisela Stein. In addition to large paper montages of the actress, the exhibition had projected footage of the actress, a strong, relentless woman, who among other remarkable achievements, went back to the stage soon after a car accident that almost completely destroyed her body and left her with permanent damage.
Improvised opera… Nationalmuseum
From the tale of the Seduction of Thomas to an unassuming hedgehog, and alluring yoga sessions, the talented singers of La Triviata played to a packed audience at the National Museum – we had to sit on the floor there were so many people. Accompanied by an equally gifted pianist, the singers presented a flawless made-up show, much to the delight of the audience, who were so keen, they often shouted out suggestions before the full explanation had been delivered.
Black balloons and vaulting ceilings… St Lukas Church
As I walked along the geometrically red and blue patterned tiles of St Lukas, I was met with a visually arresting scene of black balloons apparently floating at various intervals up the vaulting ceiling of this, the largest Protestant church in Munich. Behind them, stood an enormous white balloon-like structure. While I admit I initially struggled with the point of the exhibition, after speaking to the Taiwanese body-artist artist Wang Te-Yu, I was left with food for thought, which is surely a sign of worthwhile art. Tied by pieces of hair to a stone, the balloons were let up every half an hour for 11 days. A part of the exhibition himself, Te-Yu explained that the exhibition sat side by side the church, where prayers were offered up to the heavens, just like balloons were floated up from hair, the part where the prayers ‘leave’ our bodies. The balloons, of course, eventually came down and the artist would send up new ones. A metaphor for our need to continually send our hopes to a higher level? Or perhaps it was just something beautiful. I probably would never have visited this church had it not been for Die Lange Nacht der Münchner Museen and Wang Te’Yu’s installation.