#weekendcoffeeshare: A Morning with the Prime Minister


I’m not actually having a morning with the Prime Minister of the UK, but I am currently enjoying my Queen Anne tea and watching the PMQs (Prime Minister’s Questions). For those of you that don’t think that I am obsessed with politics, know that I’m either watching the PMQs or the Daily Show with Trevor Noah most mornings.

It has been a busy month, and with my Zed post uploaded this morning, I have finished with the A to Zed Challenge for April! Though it was much better than last year’s, I am disappointed by the outcome. I’ll talk about it more in my wrap up post, but it seems like a lot for work for not a lot of gain. I still think it’s probably because of my topic. Next year, I think I’ll be concentrating on my travel blog.

There are only three weeks left of school, the last one being final exam week. I’m very glad of being so close to the end. My first year at a new school has been much better than my first year at any other school I’ve been at, surprisingly. The hardest thing has not having a permanent classroom, and floating about during the day. Next year, I’ve been promised a classroom, though it will be a portable.

For those of you who remember, I applied for a master’s degree in Sweden. I’m currently on the waiting list, but I am not optimistic about my chances. I’ll be applying to another programme in December.

I am seriously booked this weekend, and am lazing about as if I haven’t anything to do. Next week, then? – SDM

NB: Do check out the other #weekendcoffeeshare posts here!



#weekendcoffeeshare: A Change of Pace


I never planned on taking a personal picture for this site. Usually, I am downstairs on my sofa, stretched out in front of the television. But very heavy storms yesterday flooded my living room, causing me to seek refuge in the two rooms upstairs. So if we were having coffee or tea, I would drag my bedroom chair into my office for you so we could chat.

So here is my desk for now. It is barely big enough for my laptop. At least my chair is comfortable and my office is a pleasant refuge. And yes, the woman in the green shirt on the right is me, but a 20 year old me at a concert in France.

I am on Spring holidays now, and if not for the living room flooding, I would be overjoyed. I have whole wodges of time to do nothing, except the little things that are on my to-do list, like get through my massive collection of New Yorker magazines and my backlog of podcasts.

I’m also writing my a to z challenge posts. I am already getting a lot more feedback than I did last year, but it is slow going once more. I am enjoying reading other peoples’ challenge posts, and I am getting into the habit of commenting.

So that is where I am currently. Let’s enjoy our time together. – SDM

NB: Check out the other weekend coffee posts here!

#weekendcoffeeshare: Abridged


Come, sit. Are you brave enough to try my batch of Lapsang Souchong, which tastes of fire and smoke? No? Well, I’ll enjoy it for you. Drinking it reminds me a bit of Germany actually, but I’m not sure why.  Were we having our Saturday beverage, I would tell you that I had entirely too much sun yesterday and am very glad for our overcast skies.

I am one of the coaches for the Boys’ varsity soccer team (I am also the head coach of the junior varsity team); we won a match in tournament play during penalty kicks, and it was breathtakingly stressful. We have another match today; I hope we do well. One can never tell. It is exhausting, being a coach, but thankfully I have a short season. If you’re not interested in sports talk, I understand. I only know about soccer and tennis, and I am about as un-athletic as it gets. But if this were England, we would definitely be chatting about Euro League and any plans we might have to go to France to watch some matches. I am tempted to go after my trip to Iceland.

There are two more very long weeks until the spring holidays. I don’t have much planned except a small trip with my mother, but I shall be very glad for the time off. After that, it is a straight slide to the end of the year. One gets used to the scholastic rhythm, and if I get a career in anything else, I will definitely have to try for that same rhythm.

Until next time, then. – SDM

picture by condesign

NB: Check out the other posts here!

#weekendcoffeeshare: Of Rituals


When I visited my best friend in Cleveland in 2014, I found a tea shop in the 5th Street Arcades on Euclid Avenue. It was a tiny shop in the arcade, and I bought a few ounces of tea. I kept them in tight containers and nursed them carefully, but I was running very, very low. So I left a message on their Facebook page and the admin answered a few minutes later, giving me a number to call to place a phone order. I immediately called them the next day, and yesterday (Friday), I received my package of teas. Four ounces (113g) each French Breakfast,  Rooibos and Wild Cherry and two ounces (56g) of Lapsang Souchong. I am in absolute heaven. The French breakfast smells like all the mornings I spent in France, all three years of them, and instantly sends me back there. I have never had Lapsang Souchong, but it smells like a smoky barbecue pit and I am excited to try it. Wild Cherry has actual dried cherries in it; it smells like a summer’s day. Rooibos is something I first tried in London at a tea shop in Islington, and it has been a favourite of mine ever since. So if were having tea, I would be offering you one of my new teas (well…perhaps not the French Breakfast).

I tend to do the same things at the weekend during the school year: wake up lateish, do some chores and basically be a lazy bum. I have a cleaner (a small luxury), but I do my own laundry and occupy myself with my own bedroom. However, I think often of rituals; not the religious ones, but the ones that we do daily, the habits that make up our life. As a tea drinker, I realise the history of the tea ritual, though my tea routine is very far removed from the Chinese ritual of centuries past. There are small things I do every morning when I get ready for work, like slid a pen into my bun, or take things to my car as my tea is brewing so I don’t have too much to carry. And when I return home, my keys go into the bucket next to the door so I never forget where they are. It’s soccer season so lately I’ve been getting home very late…just enough time to drop the keys where they belong and head to bed. Were we having tea I would ask you about your daily rituals and perhaps what they tell you about your life.

Were we having tea, we’d probably discuss a little about the Donald Trump rally that was cancelled and exploded in Chicago. The word ‘rally’ has always made me nervous: it is not a press conference, it’s not a town hall meeting; hell, it’s not even an interview. It’s a concentrated group of fervent supporters and a speech meant to warm the blood and get you inspired. Trump’s speeches are always full of hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric that make his supporters see red. He makes me so, so anxious, and I wonder why and how he has gotten so far.

On a final note, I downloaded the Chrome extension from a recent episode of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight that changes any mention of Donald Trump’s name to Donald Drumpf, the original spelling of his last name. It startles me sometimes and then it makes me smile. It’s a little satirical flourish that reminds me that, for now, this sort of speech is well-protected. Were we having tea, I’d love to hear about your favourite bits of satire, or even if we just chat about civil rights, I’m sure it would be a good conversation.

Until next week, then? – SDM

NB: Read the other #weekendcoffeeshare links here!

Photo by Stefan Schweihofer

#weekendcoffeeshare: The Politics of Breakfast


It’s Queen Anne again this week for tea except my milk spoilt and I can’t have cereal as I was planning. A little bit of British complaining there, pardon. It’s cool and sunny here.

If we were having breakfast, I would be telling you about my evening out with friends. It was fascinating seeing my co-workers in a different light. Human lives are so unbelievably strange and varied and beautiful.

We would be sitting in my living room having tea, and I would be musing about daily rituals, and how they’re affected by where we live and how we watched the people around us prepare for the day. I feel sometimes out of tune when I cannot perform part of my ritual, like missing milk in my tea. There are things I must do to feel as though I have succeeded in my day.

And were we having tea, I would be talking about privilege; not in any political sense, just the privilege associated with certain things. When something minor in my life goes wrong that is connected with being in a developed nation with high standards of living, I wryly say that is is a first world problem. I know this is inherently problematic, but the saying has become shorthand. My milk having spoilt is definitely a first world problem, but it tilts my day a little.

My Saturday is booked solid, I would confide in you. It is very strange having plans; I’m very much a loner. Were we having tea, it would actually be quite unusual. I don’t generally have people over!

I would be lamenting the upkeep of this blog. This past week has been incredibly busy, even though there has been so much going on politically it has been difficult to keep up. But, it is early days and I still have time to catch up. Small steps, really. I am looking forward to a small break in April to realign myself, and then the sudden rush to summer hols.

Thank you for dropping by, once more, and I’ll see you next week. – SDM

NB: Check out the other posts here!

Photo by Mira DeShazer

#weekendcoffeeshare: Brexit for Breakfast


I’m drinking a Masala chai from the Curiosity Shop. My week has been wildly busy and my Saturday is full as well. But now I am drinking my tea and contemplating existence. There’s a lot to contemplate. It’s a beautiful sunny day here, and only 5°C!

I’m going to be a bit personal, so if we were having coffee today, I would tell you how anxious I am about the Brexit. I want to live in Britain, but their leaving would make it exceptionally difficult to get a visa. I am wondering what arguments the British people are hearing, and how much of them feel threatened by the EU. I would also be questioning the fact that, though the EU was supposed to create opportunities for everyone living in its borders, it has just become an economic bloc, and a messy one at that.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am also waiting to hear back about my Master’s application. I have applied to Uppsala University to get my Master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies. I would be telling you about how I don’t feel qualified or clever enough, and that I’m worried I did the application wrong.

I’d also tell you I’m worried about Super Tuesday, next week, where Donald Trump will perhaps gain even more delegates. I would be wondering aloud how we got to this place. Is America so bad? Are people so jingoistic and ignorant? Americans who constantly say ‘no foreigners’ are quite blind and wilfully dumb: unless we are Native American, we are just as much foreign as the people arriving to our borders today.

This is a heavy chat I’m having today. I would have chocolate for you, to ease the conversation. I hope you are doing well. Until next week, then? – SDM

NB: Check out the other posts here!

Photo by condesign

#weekendcoffeeshare: A Weekend Civics Lesson


Another cuppa then? This week’s tea is a Scottish Breakfast tea from a local tea shop, The Curiosity Shop, which has sadly now closed. Scottish Breakfast is a blend of Assam, Ceylon and Yunnan. I’m a big fan of black teas, obviously. Milk and one sugar, please.

So were we having coffee/tea, I would be telling you about my plans to go to one of the early voting locations to vote in the PPP (Presidential Preference Primary) here in Georgia. I will sadly not be able to vote on the 1st of March, as I have a football (soccer) match to coach. I love voting; it is literally my favourite civic duty. My father doesn’t vote, and my mother, not being a US citizen, cannot vote. I registered to vote the very first day I could, and have voted for everything I possibly can since 2004. My first vote was for the new Georgia flag.

And since we’re having tea, I would be talking to you about the so called ‘Brexit’, or the UK’s planned referendum in June of this year. As an EU citizen with interests in the UK, I’m quite worried about the referendum, though yesterday’s agreement is promising. Will the British people out? Time will only tell.

(I have dual citizenship, for those of you playing the home game. I was born in Texas to a German mother, thus affording me citizenship rights to two countries. I feel both German and American. I will most definitely write more about this later.)

I am not as much of a reader as I used to be, but I have subscribed to The New Yorker and Les Jours, and I have to say, quality journalism is such a pleasure and I don’t mind paying for it. So were we having our caffeinated beverages today, I would definitely be telling you about the articles I was reading, and we would be chatting about celebrity culture along with our political chat.

So let’s have another cup and linger. Until next time? – SDM

NB: Check out the other posts in this weekend’s coffee share here!

Photo by Olichel Adamovich