Geschichten aus Kalifornien

Ein Dichter, der mir im Café ein Gedicht vorliest. Eine Schülerin, die mir erzählt, wie sie mit acht Jahren von Schleusern in Mexiko festgehalten wurde. Palmwedel, die nach dem Wintersturm unsere Straßen blockieren. Eine nächtliche Fahrt mit dem Bus durch Los Angeles.

Von Begegnungen und Beobachtungen wie diesen kann ich in meiner journalistischen Arbeit selten erzählen. Das finde ich schade. Deshalb habe ich dieses Tagebuch angefangen.

Paper And Phone - del Rey, CA

Walking through my neighborhood, I see a lot of changes. Real estate prizes not only going through roofs but through the sky.

Locals creating new stores: pottery, coffee place, seafood restaurant. 

30 year old businesses working hard to stay afloat: lawn mower repair shop, second hand instruments, Oaxacan specialty store. 

Whirling Goddess - Big Sur, CA

"I give my heart permission to lead this dance. I give my mind some time off - no more worry, no more doubt, planning and resisting. Instead, I surrender. Instead I open. Instead I allow, I allow, I allow.
And all unfolds with perfection, divine timing and the miracle of grace."

So it is January. Medical bills coming in. For care after running into a light pole. For a root canal still making my jaw hurt and cheek swollen. Taxes due soon. Freelance journalism not really being a source of solid income.

If it all gets a bit overwhelming, I take out this card, I randomly pulled out of a Rumi Oracle card set while at a work shop in Esalen.

Then I start listening to my heart. And tell my mind to take some time off. It helps. A lot.

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Orange Tree, Backyard - del Rey, CA

"One mustn't ask apple trees for oranges, France for sun, women for love, life for happiness."
Gustave Flaubert

I am not entirely sure what Gustave Flaubert wanted to say here. I would never ask an orange tree for apples, but have seen plenty of sun in France, know many loving women and have a happy life. Maybe the point is, not to ask for any of this? 

My Dad planted an apple tree in our front yard. My sister later put an apple tree for him in her family's garden. Apples for me are part of life in Germany. I like them crunchy and a bit sour.

The orange tree in our back yard stands for my life in California. Sweet and juicy! Never ever did I imagine ...

Ceola "Dice" Waddle - Downtown Los Angeles, CA

A Skid Row Hustle - From a Pack of Cigaretts To Bed and Breakfast on the Streets

While volunters are counting the homeless in Los Angeles County and will again arrive at a number unfathomably high, I was thinking of one of the men who talked with me about their life on Skid Row: Ceola "Dice" Waddle.

He stood out. Between camps made from tents, tarp, card board and rags he wore an ironed suit, a white apron, leather shoes and a cream colored fedora. He also had sizzling pots and pans on an improvised stove in front of him. Ceola was easy to approach, which cannot be said of most of the people I passed. He had a friendly smile, and something in his eyes told me he was ready to tell me his story. Or at least A story ...

Dentist Assistant - Santa Monica, CA

Today at the dentist, while he was digging into my jaw with his precision instruments making all kinds of disconcerting sounds (not he, the instruments), his assistant apparently was going on a dream vacation to Bavaria.

At least that's what she said while guiding me towards a 3-D-X-ray machine. Three dimensional pictures had to be taken of my lower skull because one of the three root canals in the molar with infection kept bending the precision instruments and the dentist could not figure out why.

Anyway, walking towards the X-Ray room, the assitant asked me. "Where do you come from?" My accent had once again given me away as an immigrant ...