All posts by SteffiGrimm

Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth. Not possible, as life changes a person, and we all grow... hopefully for the better. This is an online journal of my thoughts, my findings, and my lessons learned.

The Relationship Masks Are Slipping, But What Can You Do If You Don’t Like What’s Underneath?

The early days of a relationship are always a show of sorts. We put on our best faces for dates and try to paint ourselves in the brightest light possible. If we really like someone, we may even change our views to please them or tell white lies about our true natures.

But, when the relationship gets underway, that mask has to slip. In many ways, this is a good thing. When you let down that guard, true love can come in. Sure, the promise of your ‘perfect man’ might have caught your attention in the first place. But, you may not know he’s ‘the one’ until you seem him at a weak moment.

That said, this slipping of masks is often a painful process, and can be fraught with unpleasant surprises. It may be that there’s a habit or quirk to your partner’s personality which you really don’t like. When you think about it, it makes sense that they would hide this. Who goes on a date and grandstands their worst personality traits? Over time, you may come to realize that your seemingly gentle boyfriend has a nasty temper. Or, perhaps that attentive man spends more time on his phone than you first thought. The issue which makes itself known may be even severe, like a gambling addiction, or something like depression.

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Picture Credit

Sadly, this period is where many relationships end. And, believe it or not, that’s rarely due to the realisation that Mr Perfect is only human. In fact, most of the time, our attempts to change our partners put the nail in the romance coffin. You know how it is; you look past his temper because you think you can cure him of it. You assume that, because he’s with you now, his depression should evaporate.

But, here’s a horrible truth; love isn’t an instant fix. While it is a crucial part of life, it can’t just clear the way of problems. What’s more, approaching a relationship with thoughts of changing a person is the worst thing you can do. It suggests that you love your idea of them, not who they are. And, we all know that love is about accepting someone for their true selves. In fact, the only real time change would be the best route open to you is if this bad personality trait puts your partner at risk. Otherwise, you should attempt to help your partner when you notice these issues. It isn’t easy, but it may be the only way to keep your relationship healthy. And, we’re going to look at a few of the ways you can achieve it.

Recognize their triggers

For the most part, traits like these come with triggers. It’s likely certain things set off that raging temper, for instance. Equally, there may be certain situations which drive a gambler to hit the casino. As their partner, it’s your responsibility to notice. Do this without comment or judgement. Observe and accept the situation. Then, do what you can to help them avoid situations like these where possible. If you see your raging man getting mad, grab his hands and do a quick dance around the room, or something equally fun. This will distract his attention, as well as reinforcing your relationship. You may also notice that he’s more liable to gamble when worried about money. If you’re at the stage where you’re living together, do what you can to keep finances in check, or discuss ways to make more money. Again, this will help with communication, as well as distraction. It may be best, though, not to outwardly tell him about the triggers you’ve noticed. Making him aware of your observations could turn to a trigger in itself. He’ll also then be able to tell when you’re distracting attention, and that could drive him further towards the places you don’t want him to go.

Point him down a better path

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Picture Credit

This step is tricky. Get it wrong, and you could slip into the territory of trying to change your partner. But, if you take your time here, you may find that you can point him down a better path. The trick here is not to speak in definites. Merely make suggestions which you think would improve a situation. Do this subtly, so that your man doesn’t feel you’re preaching to him. It could be that leave a program on television discussing ways to deal with anger. Or, you may want to look at sites like Casino Guru which could at least recommend reliable casinos if he is going to gamble. If mental illness is the issue, talk to him about his treatment options. Through discussions, he may find he settles on a new approach which could work well. And, you can achieve all this without ever directly attempting to change the way your lover behaves. Instead, he’ll come to associate you as a reassuring presence who helps him make his own decisions.

Focus on the future

Focusing on the future is always a good idea in a relationship. If things start to stagnate, it can lead to frustration and disillusionment. But, it becomes even more critical in cases like these. If, for instance, your partner is depressed, a focus on your plans as a couple could be a considerable incentive for recovery. If it’s a mutual decision, a determination to have kids in the future could be all it takes to encourage your partner to get help. Equally, this could encourage them to face up to addictions, be they gambling or anything else. The knowledge of future parenthood could even help with anger management problems. After all, no one wants to be that parent who shouts all the time. Bear in mind that it’s essential you let your partner lead conversations like these. If they aren’t ready to discuss this kind of thing, pressure could push them further into a negative place. But, if you’re both in the same headspace here, the future could be the best tonic.

Our Etna Experience

Each holiday has at least one big highlight, and while we were in Sicily, one of the highlights was visiting Etna. I admit, it was long overdue – in fact, visiting Sicily was long overdue! I bet not many Maltese people can say that they have not been to Sicily by the age of thirty. The thing is, that I am fascinated with the UK, and I mostly ignored all other countries for a big chunk of my life. It was in 2016 that I started exploring properly and I have not looked back ever since.

We left Etna for our very last day, it being so close to Catania airport. We arrived at around 9:30AM after a two hours drive from where we were staying. The Etna car park, by the cable cars was almost full. It happened to be May the 1st, which is a bank holiday in most countries, so there were a lot of tourists there.

Steffi enjoying Etna, Sicily!

We bought our tickets and made our way to the queue for the cable cars. Once we were at a reasonable height, we queued again for 4×4-style buses. Most of the tourists were laughing hard while we made our way on what we could only describe as a bumpy ride!  It took us to almost to the top of the volcano in no time. It was rather astonishing seeing people walking all the way up from ground level, seeing that Etna is 3,500 meters high up. I bet it takes most of the day going up and then down. We thought it was money well spent as this way we could enjoy walking around and inside the craters for a longer time.

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As you set foot out of the bus, you realise that the temperature changed drastically. From almost 20 degrees to around 2 degrees! Once you get accustomed to the change of weather, you start to embrace the surroundings. The view is breathtaking, the colour of the gravel varies from black to red to yellow. I have never seen so many colours on such a huge stretch of mountain-like land. It was simply amazing being there. No words were enough to describe what we saw, what we felt being so high up, on such a clear day. You could see steam coming out, touching the floor underneath your feet feels warm. You could tell you are walking on top of an active volcano. A bit scary and risky, but it’s an experience I will never forget.

We spent roughly two hours walking and exploring, and around three hours in total including the transport. The souvenir shop comes highly recommended. While we were there we tried several liquors and the famous mandorla wine. We ended up buying some, as well as lava made statues and decor, adding onto the issue we already had since we traveled with just a hand-luggage for a five day long holiday! On the way down to the car-park, there is a restaurant which in our opinion had the best arancini in Sicily. Do give them a try if you feel peckish!

How To Spot A Fake Online Dating Profile

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There is no denying the popularity of online dating in the current day and age. In an era when we all seem to be time poor and technology oriented, the Internet provides us with the perfect platform to find Mr. Right. However, the only issue is that there are going to be a lot of Mr. Wrongs out there that you need to weed through first. With that being said, read on to discover how to spot a fake online dating profile so you don’t end up being cat-fished!

    • Lack of detail / discrepancies in their profile story
      When you are genuinely looking to find love, it is important to make your profile detailed so that you attract people that have the same sort of interests as you. You can find some tips on writing an online dating profile here: https://www.zoosk.com/date-mix/online-dating-advice/online-dating-profile-tips/online-dating-profile-examples-for-women/. If a profile is lacking any detail, it does not necessarily mean it is fake, but this is a common trait of fake profiles. After all, they do not want to give anything away. They will try to mould themselves into the person they believe you want once they start talking to you. Another sign that a profile is fake is if their story doesn’t add up. Is their profile contradicting what they tell you in their messages?
    • Stock profile photos
      This is one of the key signs that the profile you are looking at is not going to be the love of your life. If their profile appears like a stock photo, then the chances are it probably is. If you do a little bit of digging online, you will probably be able to find the photograph with ease. Moreover, if the profile only contains one photo rather than several, this is another indicator that it could be fake.
    • Let other people spot fake profiles for you
      Last but not least, the best way to make sure you do not fall victim to a fake online dating profile is to use a professional matchmaking service rather than a free online dating website. You can find more information about this by visiting https://macbeth-matchmaking.com/dating/matchmaking-and-dating-services/ . With matchmaking services, every person that joins the agency will be vetted to ensure that they are genuine. You will then be matched to a person based on your likes and interests, as well as what you are looking for from a relationship. This dramatically increases the chances of you finding the perfect man for you.

So there you have it – some useful tips on how to spot a fake online dating profile! If you have noticed any of the signs that have been discussed in this blog post, stay away from the dating profile in question. The last thing you want to do is think you’re meeting up with David Beckham only to discover the man of your dreams is more like David Brent!

Engagement Day

For many, the 19th of May meant nothing but the marriage of Prince Harry to Megan dsc_5108.jpgMarkle. To myself, my partner and our families, it was the day of our Engagement Party. For us, it was a very important day, not just as a milestone in our relationship but also because we wanted to share this with our closest family and friends. We wanted them to be present and share with us the happiness and love such an event brings.

It was also the first time my partner, Daniel, met with my entire family – with all my uncles and aunties. I thought it is a very important step before our wedding day next year to get to know where I’ve come from.

Since we planned the party ourselves, the months which lead to our party were busy; we spent a considerable amount of time planning it out. Not just the food, but also the music list, the guest list. Coming up with the invitation, and the decor. Needless to say the decor was for me the most exciting and challenging part. Thinking about what we might need on the day, creating and customising props and buying decor. Although I did most of the research, we chose everything together. Daniel also worked on building a wooden box from scratch, in which we put the cards the guests brought us on the day.

The party itself was filled with smiles and happy relatives and friends. It was also a get-together, as some of the guests we did not see for a good number of years! I thought, it was great, that we managed to do this. Especially for the fact that it was the first time in 24 years that my mother’s siblings were all under the same roof! Having family living overseas, makes it difficult for all of us to meet for every occasion, especially those who live as far as South Africa!

The blessing of the rings, and the cutting of the cake, were the highlight of the evening for us, mainly because of what they symbolise. The joining of two, who have the same outlook and dreams in life. To love, and to cherish. Now onto the big day next year!

 

Details:

Erice-Craze

The primary reason why I wanted to visit Sicily, was Erice. For those who have visited, they would agree with the steffisays-sicily-erice-castle-ruins-venus-venere-castelloimportance of visiting such a place, and others are curious to know why. Erice situated on top of a mountain, is a medieval fortified town with breathtaking views. You can go for a walk in the cobbled streets, for food, shopping or to indulge in its historical importance.

When we got there, it was very difficult to take it all in – I could not believe that after so many years dreaming about it, I was there in the flesh. We spent a good hour just walking aimlessly enjoying the surroundings. Although it was still April, Erice was buzzing with tourists.

Highlights of Erice:

The views
The below pictures can speak for themselves. Since Erice is so high up, you can capture beautiful photos with the castle and the wondrous beaches all around.

Castello di Venere
Although now in ruins (which date back to the Norman Period), this castle enjoys views all around. It is built on the top-most part of the castle. The reason behind its name which translates to English as the Venus Castle, is due to the fact that at the very spot there was the temple of Venus Eryx, dedicated to the Italian love goddess; mother of Cupid.


Giardino del Balio
As the name states, this is a garden, well sized  and definitely relaxing. It is situated very close by to the castle and towers, which means it’s busy and with gorgeous views. If we had a lot of time on our hands, we would have definitely sat down on the benches and watched the world go by! Unfortunately time was of the essence since we were in Sicily for just five full days, so we had to get on with the next attraction!

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Toretta Pepoli
Built on the slopes of Mount Erice, one can find a small castle which was built in the 1800s. This property was used mainly for meditation and was later on abandoned. In July 2014, it was re-opened again after several years in restoration. One now can visit to admire the architecture and of course the views.

Tasty Sicilian Nibbles
If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, I recommend Pasticceria Maria Grammatico, for the typical Erice sweet: The Genovesi Ericine! We also enjoyed Cannoli Siciliani from there, and I can tell you, it was hard to just choose two from their vast variety!

Photos taken by myself while in Sicily. Kindly seek permission before re-using.. For more photos visit my Instagram page.

5 Steps to NOT be an asshole

It is true that being proud and comfortable with yourself has its benefits… However, if you find yourself looking at your image gallery on social media, and all you are brostop-being-an-assholewsing through is pictures of yourself, you have probably taken it too far. If you find yourself continuously talking about yourself, and your only specialty is proving others wrong, then it’s time to admit you have a problem.

If this bothers you on the verge of becoming pissed off, as you think I am writing about you, keep reading… I dare you!

Here’s a few points on how to build yourself into a regular human being to give you the possibility of having meaningful relationships:

1. Being Right
One of the ways to drive another crazy is this idea that you have to always be right. It gets worse when you are in the wrong, but you keep persisting until you hear the other agreeing with you. The reason why one keeps being so persistent is probably because it feels good to be right. However, this is at a detriment of friendships and relationships, as in reality no one enjoys being proven wrong every time there is an argument; let alone when they are sure they are right!

2. Me first
As much as we should respect ourselves, one should not interrupt another – one should listen. Sometimes, all we need is to be heard. No need to come up with a fix or a solution. Although the intention might be genuine, we need to learn to listen, let the other feel and express what he is feeling and instead, understand what they are going through. If they need your help, they will let you know since they chose to confide in you.

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3. Ass kissing
The opposite of always being right, is trying too hard to get people to like you. Being that person who agrees to anything and everything, will make those around you lose your credibility.  Your words will not mean much since they are adjusted depending on the belief of your audience.

4. Attitude
No one is perfect, and everyone falls in this equation – including you! Stop being such a selfish, inconsiderate jerk. The world is not yours, but ours to share and live in. If you have nothing nice to say, you are better keeping your mouth shut! The only way you can be considerate is by thinking things through – Pause and review what you are about to say; be it in person, on the phone, email etc. Practice makes perfect – Funny, practice makes us better people.

5. Building up
Instead of talking about yourself, spend time to compliment someone unprovoked… Ask a question about themselves and their life in a conversation. Celebrate the success of others, rather than turning the subject about yourself. Stop thinking about yourself and focus on the others in the room with you. If you truly care about those around you, it will sooner or later become natural to do so, and your actions will follow suit.

Your wishes, My dreams

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I see you looking at me
With those big brown eyes
From which I can view everything:
Your longings, desires,
Your wishes –

You make my heart
race,
You make me grasp
for air.
You are my reason,
for all that is good.

Your desires, are my goals.
Your longings, are mine too.
Your wishes will come true,
Let’s work on them together;
Two hearts, beating as one.

What we have between us
is what I have been searching for;
for years, I dreamt about this
moment, about having it all.
Your love is the answer.

You are my real-life dream.
I want your love. I long –
for your presence in my life.
I desire your body, your soul;
my heart you stole.

______________________________________________
Steffi 2018.03.28

Dear Know-It-All

Dear Know-It-All,

I would love to invite you – you who have a problem with my writing or myself as a person, to unfollow me, unfriend me, block me or whatever you deem reasonable to do. Get it OUT of your system. Get off from that high horse of yours and stop being so damn proud – and childish!

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WHO do you think you are impressing?
You already know the answer of this with the lack of feedback you get on such posts and efforts you make to ridicule those around you!

Personally I cannot care any less, but please if you have a little respect left for yourself and to the people you say you love and care for (and to all your unreal and fake friends online), just put a STOP to this. Put simply: Learn to live YOUR life. We really do not care what your thoughts are on this subject.

P.S. If you have nothing nice to say, you are better off saying nothing at all! Otherwise, just blurt it out already. I realise you have a lot of time to spare, but luckily the rest of the world does not! 😉

Ahh… I feel so much better! Now, off with your head!

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Best Castles in Germany

I have quite a soft-spot for Germany. My fascination started way back when I was barely a teenager. At that time, I was supporting the German National Football Club, better known as Die Mannschaft. Since then, I discovered another love – Castles. After exhausting my travels in the UK, in 2016 I started traveling to Germany. So far, I have visited between 30 to 40 castles in Germany and based on my experience, I would like to write about my favourite 5 castles (so far!) in Deutschland!

Burg Hohenzollern

Located on top of Mount Hohenzollern, one can find a very distinguished castle.  What I would also call distinguished is the view from the castle onto the surroundings; the mesmerizing view of the Black Forest. Upon entering this castle, one would realise that no expense was spared in building and maintaining this castle.

The first mention of the castle was in 1267, however the mentioned castle was completely destroyed in 1423. Roughly 30 years later, the second Hohenzollern Castle was built – now bigger than ever. The fortification around it is a testimony of several conversions the castle has endured during its lifetime. To this day, the structure is sound and in perfect condition thanks to all the tourists who have visited and will visit in the years to come. Personally, I appreciate it when admission fees are used for the maintenance and renovation of the castle I visited.

 

Burg Eltz

Located along the Mosel Valley, one finds a breathtaking castle by the name of Eltz. Remembering the first time I visited this castle, I was unaware of the long (and pleasant) walk in the forest to reach it. We were puzzled; How is it that we are visiting a castle so out of sight? Trust me, the fifteen minute walk is worthwhile. If you find this as an obstacle, you can always take the shuttle bus however! English tours are available in this castle which is kind of expected considering how popular this castle is.

The castle is still owned by the same family who around 33 generation ago lived there. Eltz is one of the only three castles on the left bank of River Rhine which has never been destroyed. Construction started prior to 1157. Another house within the castle was built in the 1400s, whilst the third part of the castle was considered finished in the 1530s. The upside of this last construction is the fact that each room was heated, unlike the remaining parts of the castle which were partly heated only. The Eltz family is still considered noble to this day.

Schloss Drachenburg

Although Shloss Drachenburg looks like a castle, in fact to me, it looks very similar to Disney Castle, this is considered as a villa. What is unbelievable about it is that it was built in just two years between 1882 and 1884. It belonged to a banker who initially planned to make it a home, but then he didn’t. It was later donated to the State Foundation and is now open for the public. The western facade of the palace was heavily damaged in WW2. The restoration took many years to fulfill as even roofs needed to be replaced.

Aside from the beautiful views of Bonn and the river from the very top of the castle, one must admire the interiors who have been hand-painted all these years ago and are to this day so well maintained. I also remember huge stained glass windows, with details I have never witnessed before; and even after visiting several other castles in other countries, still remain unbeatable…

Pfalzgrafenstein Castle

Pfalzgrafenstein – such a big name, for such a small castle! One can find this little gem in the middle of River Rhine. In fact, to gain access to it, you’d have to ride a short boat trip. Once we arrived on Falkenau island we started by admiring the river from a different angle. We also noticed that from a certain level, this castle looks like a ship. Since the river’s depth varies due to seasonality, the castle had to be built in such a way that it did not flood when the water rises.

Built between 1326 and 1327, its function was as a toll-collecting station. A chain across the river forced ships to stop and pay the fee. If they did not cooperate, they were kept in the castle’s dungeon until a ransom was received. Although the castle was restored to its glory, to this day one does not find neither electricity nor a lavatory. The area is a World Heritage site.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Possibly the more popular castle not only in Germany but worldwide. What many do not know, is the sad story behind it. Back in the 1800s, the King Ludwig II, started to build this most magnificent and luxurious castle, only he died before it was completely finished. In fact, the king only lived in the castle for 172 years (in his private headquarters, whilst it was still being built), and it was opened for public viewing shortly after he died in the year 1886.

It is my intention to rebuild the old castle ruin of Hohenschwangau near the Pöllat Gorge in the authentic style of the old German knights’ castles, and I must confess to you that I am looking forward very much to living there one day […]; you know the revered guest I would like to accommodate there; the location is one of the most beautiful to be found, holy and unapproachable, a worthy temple for the divine friend who has brought salvation and true blessing to the world…

— Ludwig II, Letter to Richard Wagner, May 1868[14]

 

Most of the photos above are my own (apart from interior photos of Neuschwanstein, Eltz and Hohenzollern for the simple reason that it was not allowed). Kindly seek permission before re-using.