THE CONFUSING THING ABOUT BEING PREGNANT

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I'm pregnant, and it still doesn't feel completely real to me.

When people ask, "how are you? How's the baby?" I can only say, "I'm fine and the baby is healthy", which is a very, very simplified version of how I'm actually feeling. The thing is, I'm not exactly sure about how I'm "actually" feeling, so it makes it awkward for me to answer people's questions. And trust me, people have a lot of questions. People haven't been this interested in my life since that time I wrote that scathing article about white privilege and suddenly it was as if the KKK had me on their hit-list *ahem*, but I digress.

In all honesty, being pregnant is an experience that truly is unlike anything I've experienced before, which is why it's so difficult to describe how I'm feeling, because I don't yet understand the half of it. The changes in my body are simultaneously mind-blowing and terror-inducing. Each week, I notice my belly getting increasingly larger and my boobs are constantly sore and sensitive. My skin is awful and my hair is frizzy and, in general, I look like a fucking mess. I know that these are all the small price I pay in order to produce a mini-me but, my god, I feel so out of control of my body and so disconnected from what I know it to be. I don't hate it, but I don't like it either. Where the hell is my pregnancy glow? When do I start to look like a fucking glowy pregnant angel or whatever?!

Just a few weeks ago, Chris and I heard the baby's heartbeat for the first time and I got to see its little fingers and toes wriggle around in my womb and it was the craziest feeling to know that my body is creating another human being who will have its own opinions and its own voice and its own life. This body of mine that has been the source of some of my biggest fears and anxieties is doing something so amazingly beautiful and incomprehensible to me that just the thought of it makes me want to cry, and though those tears are often happy tears, the beauty of it all reminds me that there comes a lot of fear with creating life and being a mother that I never really thought about prior to this. When I would think about the future, the future always looked so different from what it looks like now. I imagined having kids slightly older, slightly more prepared, slightly more everything. I don't question my decision to keep this child, because I was very clear to myself in making that decision, but I do question my abilities now and whether or not all my strengths are strong enough. What if I'm simply not enough? And that's terrifying.

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Whether or not they are sincere, people seem to have a lot of faith in me and my abilities, and I often wonder why, because I am all too aware of my weaknesses, now more than ever. That's the really frustrating thing about being pregnant, I think. Prior to having a munchkin demon in my belly, I had a certain level of faith in myself that seems to have slowly disappeared and has been replaced with self-doubt and uncertainty. Where did all my confidence go? Why do I feel so small and insecure? Maybe it's just pregnancy hormones, I really can't tell anymore. Most days I can't tell left from right, and my only relief is that I have a partner who is incredibly patient and astoundingly caring, even on those days where I am completely useless and unable to pick myself up off the couch to go to the bathroom. And I have to go to the bathroom a lot, because #impregnant.

I'm sure any parent would tell me that what I'm feeling right now is totally normal, because what soon-to-be parent wouldn't be shitting their pants from time to time, right? I'm not sure of many things right now, but what I do know is that, despite my fears, I'm unbelievably excited to finally be able to meet this tiny human and to watch as Chris and I trip up over ourselves trying to be the best damn parents we can be with all the love we are able to give. And I suppose that makes everything okay in the end. So, yeah, I guess I am fine. Funny that.

THE BIGGEST F***KING SURPRISE EVER

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Last month I posted a rather cryptic video detailing my life in Germany lately and how things are changing around me in ways that I have found to be more overwhelming than I'm used to. What some of you didn't know back then, is that I had just been dealt a particularly difficult set of cards that I wasn't entirely sure I was ready to handle and I needed a way to restructure my brain in order to not have a total mental breakdown. Because my life has changed a lot, and it's continuing to change in frighteningly rapid fashion and I honestly didn't think I'd be saying this, but...

I'm pregnant. Over three months pregnant, actually.

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a recreation of real-time events, by yours truly

To say I was "shocked" when I found out would be a massive understatement. I've been on the pill for years, I never missed one, I didn't throw up or have stomach problems. I did everything a woman could do while on contraception that she should do to avoid falling pregnant unexpectedly, but *phew*, I guess I'm just one in a million.

By the time I found out, I was already 5 weeks along. I took a pregnancy test off the suggestion of a close female friend. I didn't expect anything to come of it, because why should I have? I'll tell you right now, I've never had such an intense staring contest with two sets of blue lines before in my entire life. I didn't feel anything for what seemed like forever, it was a very numbing experience. I immediately contacted my sister and our conversation was essentially as follows:

"Mikee, I'm pregnant."

"OMG."

"OMG.

"OMG I'M SO PREGNANT WHAT THE HELL OMG."

"OOOOOH my god. What are you gonna do?!."

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As you might've guessed, I have decided to keep the child. There's a lot I could say about this, but that would mean you'd be on the brink of reading a rather lengthy novel about unexpected pregnancy, which isn't what you're here for I'm guessing. So, I'll try to keep it short.

My decision to keep the child came as a surprise to me and Chris both, and has been one of the most difficult, most overwhelming decisions I've ever had to make in my adult life. It's almost as if my brain and my body got together and discussed how to best fuck up my life in the most efficient way possible. Between the headaches and the back pain and the nausea, I also had to deal with the stress of 1) not being able to convince myself to get an abortion (because I really wish I could have wanted that at the time), 2) the idea that my life was about to change in ways that are frightening and terrifying (and, yes, I know those two words mean the same thing) and 3) trying to comfort my partner who was equally, if not more, shit scared than I was. I could probably have taken a bath in the amount of tears I shed during those following weeks, but thank fuck for the friends I have here who kept me from caving in on myself. I truly, truly don't think I could've done this if it were not for the unbelievable amount of love and support they showed me and Chris during this time. No amount of gratitude will ever be enough to repay them for what they've done, and continue to do, to help.

Some time has passed since then and Chris and I have both settled into this new direction our lives are taking. While I deal with what seems to be never-ending back pain, Chris is trying his best to be as comforting and helpful as possible because my energy levels are almost non-existent and I've been reduced to a rather useless potato-human state. My belly has also popped now, so it's kinda of difficult hiding the pregnancy from people but I look forward to it growing so that I may use it as my own personal belly-table. It will be glorious.

Today Chris and I went to the doctor to find that our tiny little demon child has made it past the first trimester of pregnancy and is a healthy little bean, much to the delight of my ever-present-anxiety. I'm feeling excited (still overwhelmed, from time to time) and so full of love that it's almost enough to make me cry, and I do have myself a little cry every now and again coz what better way to experience the "beauty" of pregnancy but through ugly crying and cake eating?

So, humans, here's to a new chapter in my life. Uh, I mean our lives. And here's to my new little family, crazy as that sounds, and all the other crazy shit that I'm sure will come our way in the near future.

Omg. I'm pregnant.

LIFE ON FILM: AUGUST 2016

Sometime early August, whilst on my way back home, I saw an old film camera on the side of the road that appeared to have no owner and no place to go. Sheepishly, I took it on the off chance that it might work. For the whole of last month, I took this little dinosaur camera around with me taking snaps of my life here and there, all the while hoping the camera wasn't faulty and that I might later on be able to see them... and voila! The camera does indeed work and I picked up the photos today and was pleasantly surprised.

I also want to take this moment to say a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my boo-thang who will probably read this as he wakes up in sunny California. Hey! Hi! I hope you have the most wonderful day <3 <3 <3 lots of love from zee kitties and me.



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Chris & Shani ft. Shani's party paw

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Party Dog
Shani sunbathing looking very chill

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Waiting at the tram stop on the way to a friend's birthday
cheeky snap before bed courtesy of Chris

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Mr Boo Thang preparing to cook me up some food

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Scoring the total amount of 5 burgers all for free!
drinks with Mike at some never-seen-before hippy location that I cannot remember the name of

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Coffee reggae band live performance as the sun goes down
Chris taking surprise photos while I get ready for the day

PHOTO DIARY: AMSTERDAM

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Last week we took a weekend trip to Amsterdam where we met up with some of Tim's old American buddies, Jake and Joel. Neither myself nor the two overseas fellows had been to Amsterdam before, and I had heard mixed reviews about the place. Needless to say, I was pretty stoked to get a chance to visit, considering the weather gods were forever in our favour and the sun came out to shine 99% of the time.

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Chris and I even came by this crazy cool thrift store where all of your Nike/Addidas/Puma tracksuit dreams come true!

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I'm not sure if it's hugely influenced by the particularly nice weather we had, but it seemed that the people living in the city were generally happier and healthier than the people back in Bremen. Many more smiles, many more bicycles. The service was also pretty interesting... as some of you might know, Germany isn't exactly the best spot in terms of good customer service, so I expected Amsterdam to be better. I wouldn't say Amsterdam had bad customer service, but it was certainly interesting. A bit confused and chaotic, though still trying to smile, at least!

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We had a boat ride through the canals, which was pretty interesting as the tour guide pointed out buildings within the city that I never would've noticed otherwise. Unfortunately for us, there was a city swim event happening, so some of the channels were closed, but it was still pretty neat to see what was available to us.

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On our last evening, we did have a bit of a walk through the redlight district of the city, which was basically exactly what you might imagine it to be. Red lights (duh), exotic dancers, hookers, alcohol, piss, the smell of weed in the air. There were parts of the area that were interesting, and certainly some instances of "customers" that were mildly entertaining, but as a whole I don't think it's as interesting as people might think it is. If you've seen the seedy part of any city, you've basically seen the seedy part of every city.

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I really wish I had more time in the city, as I definitely feel there are parts that I missed out on. Thankfully Bremen isn't too far away (about a 4 hour drive), so hopefully I'll be finding myself back there one of these days and I'll get to visit all the places I didn't have time for this time!

PHOTO DIARY: THE HARZ

unless you're completely blind, you might notice that I've changed things up on my blog, because the old layout was beginning to get a bit rusty. Apart from introducing colour, you can now also find the button/navigation bar above which will give you easy access to things about myself, topics on the blog and easy ways to contact me. The renovation of this lil baby of mine took me an entire day of slaving away in front of my laptop, and I can promise you that I never want to see another line of html coding ever again.

Ok. Right. Onto more fun things.

A couple of weeks ago, Chris and I decided to take a day trip to The Harz, as I was feeling restless and wanted to see something other than the four walls of my workspace and, seeing as I've never been to The Harz before, it seemed like a pretty solid plan. Waking up early to drive to The Harz = not such a solid plan. Apart from leaving a smidgen later than we had planned, arriving to an area full of greenery and actual hilltops (albeit nowhere close to the views in New Zealand), was extremely refreshing.

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We only had time to truly wander around the city of Quedlinburg, which I can only describe as quaint. The pastel colours, the Fachwerk style buildings, the edges of structures peeling off themselves, etc. Walking around the blanket of balmy weather, you might get the sense that the city and everyone in it are all a little older than they'd like to be.

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On our way back home, we stopped by Schulenberg I'm Oberharz, which is essentially a big ol' dam, but mighty pretty. The quietness and the scenery were their own type of perfect, and I managed to snag myself a fern leaf! Nothing quite beats finding parts of home in Germany.

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