Post A to Z Road Trip

Yesterday, I signed up for the Post A-to-Z Road Trip, on the A to Z Challenge page (thanks for the image included in this post) so in a way this post should have gone up then (I am writing this yesterday, HA!) and this very post is taking the slot of another one…

I am once again at the top of the signup list 🙂 not so far up as I was for the reflections, where I am 7th, here I am 14th (14=2×7). As I do not have a page or a list regrouping all of my A to Z posts, this one is dedicated to that purpose, after all it is not great to scroll through 20 something posts.

What have I done? (in English, German and French) | A is for my Autobiography (in English, German and French) | B is for Bee (in English and German) | C is for Chatwin | D is for Door – a short story | E is for Emerald – a short story | F is for Friendship | G is for Girl H is for Home | I is for Idioms | J is for Jump – a short story | K is for Kakadu (in German with English “subtitles”) | L is for Leaving – a short story (read this before R) | M is for Mistakes | N is for Nothing | O is for Oma | P is for Penguin – a short story | Q is for Questions | R is for Rose – a short story (read L first) | S is for Snake – a short story | T is for Time – a short story | U ist für Unterkunft – eine Kurzgeschichte (a short story in German) | V is for Vanilla | W is for Wawel Castle (in English, German and French) | X is for Xenophobia | Y is for Yawn | Z is for Zookeeper – a short story | My first A to Z Challenge – Reflections Post 

Have fun with the Road Trip, Solveig


My first A to Z Challenge – Reflections Post

April is over, 30 days that went by in a flash!

There is more than one reason for that: April was a beautiful month, we had summer weather most of the time. | During April I worked quite a bit more than in the previous months. | And of course there was the A to Z Challenge

I had so much fun with the A to Z Challenge, I signed up when my blog was not even two weeks old. Before I did sign up, I made sure that I would have some things to write about, because I did not want to commit and then give up in the process. It was like signing a contractual agreement. I managed to put up a post for each letter of the alphabet, and on the correct day, but some posts exceed my self set limit of 250 words (but this was sometimes necessary).

I think that I visited a lot of blogs, but I should have done more, but I have had a busier month than usual, and well a great family to spend time with too. Thus in May I will continue browsing through the A to Z blogs, who knows I might find some great hidden gems.

It wasn’t always easy to come up with a word and a good post, but seen your feedback, I do guess that I did quite well most of the time. The funny thing is some of the best posts were actually the ones I struggled most with (the inspiration wasn’t there, or the writing flow didn’t start), and then ended up writing in the half and hour between doing the dishes and cooking dinner, (I tried to have my posts ready a day in advance where possible, as I hate doing things like that last minute).

What did I get out of A to Z?

  • The discovery of some amazing writers and bloggers.
  • I have discovered that I can write, at least that’s what the positive and encouraging feedback shows me.
  • I have some great projects for the future, some stories that started in April are begging to be continued, and why not start writing a novel?
  • I have gained in confidence in my capacity to write and to be creative
  • Writing during the whole month of April has done a lot of good.
  • I have established a great blogging community!
  • Now I can proudly display my A to Z survivor badge in the sidebar 🙂

Thank you all for reading, liking, commenting, following, recommending my blog! Thank you to the hosts of A to Z for making this possible! And providing all of the A to Z related badges.

How have you enjoyed A to Z? Did you participate? What were your hardest letters to cope with? Which of my A to Z posts is your favourite? Are there other challenges that are worth joining?

If you haven’t done so yet, have a look at my A to Z posts.

Written by Solveig Werner

Z is for Zookeeper – A to Z Challenge April 2015

Jack gave some lettuce to the old turtle, what a wise and gentle fellow, apparently he was close to one hundred years in age.

What wouldn’t he give to be able to talk to these zoo animals?

For two weeks now, Jack was working as a Zookeeper. To his parents’ shock, he had decided to quit his well payed job in a law firm and follow his passion. After years of working in a sterile environment, he had finally dared to go out into the wild, the insecurity of following his true self.

In Jack’s case that was being a Zookeeper.

Climbing into the lion’s cage, Jack didn’t even shiver. He felt confident, this was his childhood dream after all. Kneeling down he stroked the lion’s mane. Like a kitten this one purred and rolled onto his back to have his belly caressed as well. “Why did I not do this earlier?” Jack thought to himself.

“JACK! WOW, BE CAREFUL!” someone shouted from outside of the cage. It was one of Jack’s colleagues.

“No worries, this one is like a kitten” Jack replied with a broad smile.

“If you say so, but you know, the male you are cuddling there, is known to be a true danger for us zookeepers, you don’t even have the necessary professional experience!” was the answer from outside.

Jack didn’t mind the remarks from his experienced colleagues, he didn’t have any education or experience in the field, he was a natural,

“Or am I not?” he asked the great purring and sleeping cat.

Written by Solveig Werner

This marks the end of the A to Z Challenge of April 2015. I have had a lot of fun, and you all have been such a great support. I’ll treat you to an A to Z reflections post on Monday. 

Y is for Yawn – A to Z Challenge 2015

“Yawning is contagious, others will automatically join in”, this might not be the exact quote, but I remember reading about yawning with my ESL (English as a second language) teacher in middle school. She always made me read strange texts to provide me with diverse vocabulary. I recall a few of them.

One day we read the said text on yawning, we had a lot of fun with it an laughed a lot. The text ended with a task, we were meant to say the word “yawn” out loud five times and see what happens, we even said it in German, I don’t think that this made us yawn. Continue reading “Y is for Yawn – A to Z Challenge 2015”

X is for Xenophobia – A to Z Challenge April 2015

Oh what a horrible thing Xenophobia! According to wikipedia,

Xenophobia is the unreasonable fear of what is perceived to be foreign or strange.

Even in our, now, very advanced and open mind-set, xenophobia still exists. People who move to a foreign country or even visit one can at times be confronted with it, and that is never fun and it can HURT a lot. Sometimes people get prejudged and filed away in a mental drawer upon their foreign looks and they are not form the place attributed to them…

When I was about 13 living in the U.S., a boy in my middle school called me a “Nazi”, that really hurt, because words can hurt. I was not /am not the type of person normally jumping up to defend myself, but that made me really mad, I recall sprinting after him to make him take it back.

When I left home to go to university, I was really proud of my international background. I was not confronted with xenophobia, but someone told me that I should be careful who I told that I was German, lived in France before coming to the UK and well not talk to much to certain people as I had an American accent (I lost that one really quickly once in England). Well, in the end, it never was a problem, I was generally appreciated the way I was.

Have you ever been a victim or witness of xenophobia? What did you do about it?

Written by Solveig Werner

W is for Wawel Castel – A to Z Challenge April 2015 | Wawel Schloss | Château du Wawel

I understood nothing, that was said or sung. I was not part of it. I knew that I was an outsider here. But here people weren’t here to judge others. I did not really fit in, but it felt ok to be there.

It was still dark outside when we left home. When we arrived the day only started to dawn, slowly. We were almost late, and there was no space left. But we still fit in, somehow. It was cold inside the church, it felt even colder than outside of it.

S. and I had gotten up early to attend an early Sunday morning service in the church of Wawel Castle.  It was impressive to see how many people had come. All dressed in their best clothing, many women wore fur coats. There were I think no foreigners present, as tourists and erasmus students don’t tend to get up early on Sundays.

It was a great experience, it was an observation of Polish traditions and habits, within one of the most important buildings of the country, Wawel Castle.

While I lived in Krakau, the view from the living room and bedroom was the Wawel Castle, I painted the view that I had in October 2009. I sat on the windowsill in the living room.

Wawel Castle by Solveig Werner,  2009
Wawel Castle by Solveig Werner, October 2009

Ich konnte nichts verstehen von dem was gesagt oder gesungen wurde. Ich gehörte nicht dazu, ich war eine Außenseiterin. Aber die Menschen waren nicht hier um andere zu beurteilen. Auch wenn ich nicht wirklich dahin gehörte, so fühlte es sich trotzdem richtig an.

Als wir von Zuhause aufbrachen war es noch stockfinster. Bei unserer Ankunft fing gerade erst die Dämmerung an. Fast wären wir spät dran gewesen, Platz gab es auch keinen mehr, aber wir passten trotzdem irgendwie rein. Es war kalt. In der Kirche war es kälter als draußen.

S. und ich sind am Morgen früh aufgestanden um an einem frühen Sonntagmorgen Gottesdienst in der Kirche des Wawel Schlosses teilzunehmen. Es war umwerfend zu sehen wie viele Menschen gekommen waren. Alle in ihrer feinsten Kleidung, viele Frauen trugen Pelzmäntel. Ich denke, dass fast keine Ausländer dort waren, denn Touristen und Erasmusstudenten stehen nicht gerne früh auf, keinen falls an Sonntagen…

Zurückblickend war es eine super Erfahrung, es war eine Beobachtung der polnischen Bräuche und Gewohnheiten, und das in einer der wichtigsten Bauwerke des Landes, Wawel Schloss.

Als ich in Krakau gewohnt habe, konnte ich vom Schlafzimmer und Wohnzimmer aus das Wawel Schloss sehen, diese Sicht habe ich im Oktober 2009 gemalt. Ich saß auf dem Fensterbrett des Wohnzimmers.

Je ne pouvais pas comprendre ce qui était dit ou chanté. Je n’en faisais pas partie. j’étais une étrangère. Mais les gens n’étaient pas là pour juger d’autres. Même si ma place n’était pas là, ça se sentait bien.

Nous étions partis de la maison quand il faisait encore nuit. L’aube commença que doucement à notre arrivé. Presque en retard, il n’avait plus de place, mais nous avons logés quand-même. Le froid était plus marquant à l’intérieur de l’église qu’à l’extérieur.

S. et moi, nous nous étions levés tôt pour assister à la 1ère messe du dimanche matin dans l’église du château du Wawel. C’était impressionnant de voir le nombre des personnes qui étaient venues pour y assister. Tout le monde portait leur meilleurs vêtements, beaucoup de femmes étaient en manteaux en fourrure. Je crois qu’il n’avait presque pas d’étrangers present, car ni les touristes ni les étudiants erasmus aiment se lever tôt, surtout le dimanche matin.

C’était très interessant de pourvoir observer les traditions et habitudes polonaises dans un tel lieu, un des bâtiments les plus importants de la Pologne, le Château du Wawel.

Pendant que j’habitais à Cracovie, la vue de la chambre et du salon donnait sur le Château du Wawel. Je l’ai paint, assise sur l’appui de la fenêtre du salon. en octobre 2009

Text and paining of Wawel Castle by, Text und Bild vom Wawel Schloss von, texte et painture du Château du Wawel par Solveig Werner

V is for Vanilla – A to Z Challenge April 2015

V is for Vanilla

I reopened the freezer, took out the Whole Foods French Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Even though I was doing this in secret, it cannot have stayed unnoticed for long, but I never heard any remarks regarding my guilty little pleasure.

I always appreciated the taste of vanilla, it was probably that ice cream when I was a teen that made me discover it. I did not know at that time that French Vanilla Bean actually has little to do with France. Normally it is called “Bourbon Vanilla”, in honour of the French dynasty, and refers to a specific origin: Madagascar and La Réunion. For a long time that was all I knew about vanilla, which was prominent to me in the form of vanilla extract and over-priced pods that were rather dry and twig-like. Continue reading “V is for Vanilla – A to Z Challenge April 2015”

U ist für Unterkunft – A to Z Challenge April 2015

“Wir brauchen für heute Nacht unbedingt eine Unterkunft!” sagte Tim mit ernster Miene zu seinem besten Freund Christian.

“Ich weiß, wir werden schon etwas finden”, erwiderte dieser gelassen.

“Wie kannst du bloß so ruhig sein? Meine Mutter wird mir die Hölle heiß machen, wenn sie erfährt, dass ich unter einer Brücke oder auf einer Parkbank übernachtet habe. Sie war ja schon von Anfang an gegen unseren Ausflug.”

Am frühen Morgen, waren Tim und Christian mit ihrem Nachtzug in dieser schönen Stadt angekommen, in der sie kein Wort verstanden. Das Abitur frisch in der Tasche, hatten sie sich entschieden eine schöne Reise zu unternehmen, bevor es mit dem Ernst des Lebens weiter gehen sollte.

Grün hinter den Ohren wie sie nun mal waren, hatten sie sich nicht darum gekümmert im Voraus nach Unterkunftsmöglichkeiten zu schauen, geschweige denn die nötigen Wörterbücher einzupacken.

“He, Tim, hatten wir nicht abgemacht nicht über Mütter, oder Weiber zu schwätzen?” foppte Christian seinen besorgten Freund. “Komm mach dir keine Sorgen, wir werden schon eine gute Unterkunft finden”, versuchte er ihn zu beruhigen.

Welcher den Tränen nahe erwiderte, “aber die Jugendherberge dort drüben war schon voll. Die Hotels sind alle viel zu teuer, die können wir uns nicht leisten”.

Schweigend gingen sie weiter durch die schöne Stadt, die ihnen immer bedrückender vorkam.

“Komm, wir fragen dort!”, Christian deutete auf ein Gebäude am Ende der Straße.

Eine knappe Stunde später lagen sie mit vollen Bäuchen auf harten Pritschen. Sie konnten ihr Glück kaum fassen. Eine kostenlose Unterkunft mit Abendessen und Frühstück.

“Gute Nacht Jungs”, sagte ein freundlicher Polizist in einem gebrochenem Schuldeutsch, hielt inne als er die Zelle zuschließen wollte, “nee euch muss ich ja nicht einschließen”.

Geschrieben von Solveig Werner

T is for Time – A to Z Challenge April 2015

ding, ding, ding the old pocket watch chimed thirteen minutes past twelve.

He threw his papers and books into his backpack, today was not a day to arrive late. The recent death of his beloved grandfather and the profound sadness that came with it was not going to count as an excuse.

Running through the door he thought of his grandfather.

Years ago, when he was still a young boy he played with the old man’s golden pocket watch, a minute repeater.

One day he asked, “Grandfather, if you die one day, can I have this watch as a present when you die?”, a question, which ashamed him for many years.

The old man took it lightly and replied with a warm smile  “my dear boy, yes your name has already been put down in my will for that watch, after all I received it from my grandfather. But please, do not play with your mind being absent, not only is it a fragile mechanism, this watch is magic! It can pause time.”

In his childhood he had hoped this to be true, but now his years of research on the subject had convinced him that this could not be true.

Now was not the moment to think of the past, he was late.

Panting, running up the stairs he stopped in his tracks, there was something wrong.

It felt like as if time was standing still.

Written by Solveig Werner

S is for Snake – A to Z Challenge April 2015

In the depth of the woods, Sisi woke up hearing the chant of her favourite songbird. Her whole body twitched.

“What a beautiful sound”, she thought to herself whilst slowly uncoiling and slivering out of her comfortable nest. She often regretted how in the past this very type of bird had been on her weekly menue. With time she had learnt to no longer hunt for the forest musicians, but to go for the mice instead.

Today, she would neither eat nor unt.

Shortly after leaving her nest, Sisi arrived at her favourite clearing, lit all in green. Still enjoying the birds’ song, more had joined in, she coiled herself up like a liquorice snail on a huge black rock, knowing that it would soon be drenched with confortable sunlight.



Sisi blinked, “not again” she muttered to herself, sheepishly looking at a group of humans staring at her in terror.

Before anyone could harm her, she slid away like a flash of lightning.

That night, she was crying in her nest and between her sobs wondered out loud: “Why can I not be respected within my own neighbourhood? It is not as if I tanned in their backyards or on their playgrounds.”

Written by Solveig Werner