So, I went to therapy…

*Cross posting with my newsletter*

It’s been a while since I wrote to you all. I haven’t posted on my blog, I haven’t sent out any newsletters, I’ve just been sort of getting swept up in all these other parts of my life that didn’t have anything to do with my writing. It’s not the first time this has happened, and I can’t promise it will be the last time. It’s been a bit of a struggle, to be honest. If you want to know more, then read on…

The lockdown which started at the end of March didn’t help. The constant fear mongering in the media; the daily changes to the rules and advice, all that was enough to drive anyone up the wall. On top of that, my mother-in-law’s health has been keeping us all on our toes.

I wrote in my last blog post about her short stint in hospital due to sodium imbalance. Though we were all back home in time for the lockdown, things were far from over. Due to her ongoing health issues and in large part probably also the major upset in her daily routine due to the lockdown, she suffered from depression throughout the first couple of months of the lockdown. For me, the main surprise in all of this was that her depression did not even manifest as being in a bad mood, necessarily. We were all in a bit of a mood, to be fair. For her, she has just been ill constantly. If it’s not the stomach, then it’s a toothache, if it’s not the toothache, then it’s a dibilitating headache. Throughout there’s been nausea so bad, she couldn’t eat, so we were trying to coax her to eat smaller meals throughout the day, because otherwise she would just not eat anything, which makes everything even worse. After a few weeks, she ended up showing signs of vitamin deficiency as well, for which she’s still taking a big pile of supplements. And even when things were fine for a few days, she would be so fearful of the nausea returning that she still refused to eat.

It was almost constant. For going on three months, I would wake up every morning already exhausted, worrying about what would go wrong next. Only once things started to open up a little bit around May/June, and she saw a few doctors about it who put her on mood stabilisers did things improve. That’s not to say things are perfect now. Up until last week, she’s had recurring headaches, for which we’ve seen a bunch of specialists. (The latter concluded it was still depression/stress).

So yeah, it’s been hard. And I’ve found myself defeated, with nothing left to give. My marriage has suffered. My own health has been giving me trouble. (Yeast infection that refuses to go away, anyone? Ugh. I’d never even had a yeast infection before this year!)

And in all of it, there has been no room for writing. Basically no room for any mental space or activity that would allow me to recenter myself and figure out what I should be doing next. My writing – although difficult and frustrating at times – gives me a sense of satisfaction in life which cooking meals and cleaning the kitchen does not provide. Without it, I’m lost. But every time I sat down and tried, I found myself frozen and unable to start.

For me, it all fell apart sometime over this last month, when I would burst into tears without knowing why or how to stop it almost every day. I’ve never felt so low in my entire life.

I’m an introvert, you see. I need my space and time apart from people just to function. But there hasn’t been a lot of time for that lately. As a result, I’ve been crabby, impatient, short tempered and still utterly exhausted.

So in the end, my husband and I ended up having a massive fight. The kind that makes you wonder if everything is going to be over forever. And during the aftermath of that fight I booked an appointment with a relationship counsellor nearby, because I didn’t know what else to do.

On the day, I was nervous and also a little excited. I knew that going to counselling by myself wasn’t a perfect solution, but my husband just wasn’t going to go, no matter what. If I couldn’t change ‘us’, at least I could figure out myself, right? That’s all I could aim for.

I arrived exactly on time, was greeted by a receptionist who asked me questions about myself, my life, and what I was struggling with. That nearly made me cry again, because I couldn’t express what was wrong, exactly. I just knew I was deeply unhappy and things in my marriage weren’t going so well. She emphasized that next time, my husband should definitely come, to which I told her that that was not going to happen… She said something about today being a consultation and if necessary I would be prescribed a test, which would cost extra. Whatever. I just wanted answers, so I agreed to everything and sat down.

And then I waited for the therapist. They gave me a bottle of water. I finished it.

And I waited. They gave me a cup of tea. That finished soon enough as well.

And I waited some more.

I’d carried a book, just to pass the time – you might have already read it, but if not, I highly recommend it: Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski PhD.

Half an hour turned into an hour, turned into one-and-a-half hours. In between I would ask the receptionist how much longer. She’d say: “Oh, only about five to ten minutes more. I’m sorry, we’re really busy today.” And I’d open my book again and carry on reading.

But right around the one-and-a-half hour mark, I lost it. Another patient had come in after me as well, and had been waiting for about half an hour already when I finally got up. I told the receptionist if they didn’t have time to fit me in today, they should have given me an appointment for another day. I got a bunch of apologies and assurances that this wouldn’t happen again, and it was just a really busy day. She rebooked me for the following Monday and once again ensured that they’d make time for me and shuffle some other patients around. (Okay, so then they’ll screw some other sucker instead? Nice!)

I reached home nearly two hours since I’d left. My husband of course wanted to know what had happened and if it had been helpful. I barely got a sarcastic AF remark out (“It was super enlightening, I learned so much about myself.”), before – you’ve guessed it – ugly-crying my eyes out.

In the end, I suppose I did learn something. I enjoyed the book I’d read in the waiting room, and that I was never going back there. Indeed, I cancelled the rebooked appointment shortly after. Instead, I decided to take the money I would have spent on that session, and bought some more self help books.

Even now, I’m still wondering if I should try someone else, or I should just forget about the whole thing.

At least my husband was there for me when I came home. He was kind and compassionate and let me cry and complain as much as I needed to. And although he wasn’t in favour of therapy anyway (he wouldn’t even go, remember?), the words “I told you so” didn’t pass his lips even once. In turn, I’m trying not to be so snappy and impatient all the time. We’re doing better than we were last week.

Oh, and we’ve taken up cycling together. Exercise is an anti-depressant too, isn’t it? Let’s see how that goes.

So yeah, this is my post-lockdown update. The one time I went to therapy (or tried to).

How are you doing?

Corona Lockdown in Progress (Day 2)

OMG, how much can change in a week!

On the 13th, I sent out a newsletter (which I posted here on my blog as well) outlining the situation in India with regards to coronavirus at the time. We were all aware of it with varying degrees of paranoia as a result, but not imminently affected. Nationwide cases were fewer than 100 people, of which not even one in my local city. Well, that has certainly changed! Numbers are up in the mid/high 500s, not sure how many in my city because we’re not getting the local paper anymore. India has reported the first cases of community spread now as well. Add to that personal upheaval and health issues, and I’m only now finally getting my head around what’s actually happening at home. Bear with me while I update you all.

When I last wrote to you, I mentioned coming back from Delhi on the train, and feeling a bit crap afterwards. Next day: fever & bodyache, and my husband got it too. Day after that: severe diarrhoea and zero appetite. By the day after that both my husband and mother-in-law developed diarrhoea as well. Since nobody had any cough or other cold/flu type symptoms I might have blamed some kind of food poisoning, but all we ate during the previous days was fresh, homecooked food. Stomachflu, maybe?

In the meantime, the Prime Minister of India announced a voluntary curfew for Sunday, so we got some warning that measures would be taken to ensure people don’t go out so much. We stocked up on fruit & vegetables in addition to all the dry goods I’d already purchased last week.

Well, whatever flu it was, the end result was that after a couple of days of suffering through it and taking various medications prescribed by our family doctor, my mother-in-law developed severe nausea, weakness and fainting spells. All signs of dehydration/electrolyte imbalance. We had to admit her to hospital, because despite taking electrolytes, her sodium levels had fallen so much and her stomach issues were not getting under control either, meaning she could barely eat.

Luckily my husband and I recovered without the need for any medication, but it’s been a trying week for everyone nonetheless. I stayed with her at the hospital for the 3 nights she was there and only made the occasional trip back home during the day to pick up clothes, toiletries, and stock up on whatever food items I hadn’t purchased yet before we got ill.

Thankfully things have calmed down at home, somewhat. My mother-in-law was allowed to leave the hospital day before yesterday. Right in time for our city’s strict lockdown (in force since yesterday). And as of midnight, the entire country is locked down for the next 21 days, not just select cities/districts. Only essential services are exempt; that means medical, fire/police, people who work for utilities (water/electric), select public servants, select food vendors and that’s it! I understand a lot of people all over the world are facing lockdown scenarios of various types, but we’re currently facing one of the strictest type except for China.

No leaving the house. Period.

No grocery trips. No work. No walks. Nothing. Police are strictly inforcing the lockdown, and even at times arresting people they find outside who doesn’t have special permission. A plan has been proposed to get food and medicines delivered home, but so far I’m not seeing practical evidence of it in our neighbourhood. There is no such thing as takeout food or online shopping anymore since Sunday. If anyone doesn’t know how to cook, now’s the time to turn to youtube and learn!

We have to make do with whatever we’ve got in the house until the systems are set up.

The outside world is quiet, except for the birds you normally can’t hear over all the noise, and the occasional barking dog. All of yesterday, maybe half a dozen cars passed by outside, presumably the doctors and other essential workers who live on our street, who are still on duty throughout all of this. Other than that, it’s been eerily quiet. If you’ve ever visited India, you’ll know what I mean when I say that silence in this country is normally hard to come by.

Despite all these limitations, we’re still staying positive and carrying on with life as much as possible.

I’m thankful that my mother-in-law is feeling better, and despite everything we still managed to stock up on food and medication last week. I can tell you I feel a whole lot less guilty about buying additional supplies now that we’re cooped up in the house for the foreseeable future. We’ll be fine for these 21 days, even if the home delivery grocery plan fails. Sure, we’ll start to miss fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy, but we won’t go hungry for quite a while. I hope the poor and those people who do not have a big stock of food for whatever reason manage to get what they need from the government.

All we can do is sit tight, enjoy family time, read (write!), play some boardgames, and wait for the proverbial shit storm to blow over. I try not to think about how all of this is affecting the economy, or if 21 days is going to be enough to stop the spread of the virus. These are not things I can affect in any way, so why waste time fretting about it now?

Are you also facing a lockdown? Do let me know how you’re coping, or if you just want to vent, that’s also fine. It’s a tough time for us all, but I think it helps to reach out and talk about it. If you feel like emailing me instead of commenting publicly, you can do so at info@lmoone.com.

Take care and all the best!

Lorelei

Beauty (Coffee Shop Girls #3)

Out Now!

Speed dating takes an unexpected turn for hopeless romantic, Megan in this third installment of the Coffee Shop Girls series!

Buy or Borrow Now: Amazon

About Beauty

Megan
The speed dating event at the pub has been a complete disaster right from the start. Five minutes of meaningless conversation; that isn’t the recipe for romance. I’m ready to give up all hope, when instead of me finding love, trouble finds me.

The moment Dean comes to my rescue, a switch flips in me. Perhaps tonight isn’t a complete waste after all? He’s the strong, silent type, and I’m unable to read him at all. but I’m determined to break through his walls and find out if he feels the same.

Dean
All night, I’ve kept an eye on her. How could I not, when she’s the most beautiful woman in the room? Inevitably, her luscious curves turn other heads as well, and before long, a fight erupts. It feels so good to intervene; to hold her in my arms after and see the gratitude in her eyes.

But she doesn’t know who I am. She doesn’t know what I’ve done. It would be better for everyone involved if I back away now. Because the more time I spend with her, the closer I come to forgetting why I can’t give her the sort of love she deserves.

Note: this self-contained beauty and the beast themed read may end up melting not just your Kindle, but your heart as well! If you love steamy body positive romance stories featuring protective older men and a curvy younger women, this third installment in L. Moone’s Coffee Shop Girls series is going to tick all your boxes! Every book follows a different couple from the moment lightning first strikes all the way to their happily ever after. They can be read in any order, but for maximum enjoyment I suggest you start with Book 1, Fireworks.

Buy or Borrow Now: Amazon

Corona-confusion – What I’m doing about it.

(This has been cross-posted here from my Newsletter)

Dear Readers,

Over the last seventy-two hours I must have received at least a dozen or so emails from large companies outlining their Corona virus response, how it might affect us all, or whatever it is they wrote about. I can’t be certain what was in all the emails, because my first impulse when faced with an inbox full of unread big business newsletters is to delete them. So, I did. Bad, I know.

Even worse is that I’m adding to the barrage of email with my own newsletter today. I promise, I have a valid reason (a new release), which has been on the calendar since mid January, before the situation was as out of control as it appears to be right now. Sorry in advance.

Coronavirus. Everyone’s talking about it. And for someone like me, who flatout refuses to panic about anything at all, it’s becoming harder to ignore. So, why not take a moment and talk about it?

For those of you that don’t know, my author bio is a little bit out of date. When I started writing, I lived in the UK (Greater London, to be precise), but that’s no longer the case. For the past few years I’ve been living in India to be closer to the in-laws, who are getting on in age and need more support than they used to. I’ve never updated the bio, because I like my privacy, especially now that I’m in a country which still judges steamy fiction quite a bit. For that reason, I won’t share exactly where I am even now.

It’s a weird place to live at times. The media is quite insular, so you don’t tend to hear much about the wider world, unless it’s really newsworthy. Upon opening a newspaper in India, you might be fooled into thinking that there are only a handful of countries that matter outside our borders. The US, and perhaps the UK, occasionally the Middle East. On top of that, we don’t tend to follow the news all that religiously, adding to our isolation. In a way, we’ve been mentally self-isolating before coronavirus made it popular!

While the whole world seemingly has been consumed by coronavirus panic, we’ve mostly been shielded from it all. Sure, there’s a shortage of hand sanitiser and face masks, but we’ve been spared the toilet paper apocalypse other countries have had to deal with. (Also, on the whole, Indian people don’t care for toilet paper, so I doubt it’ll ever sell out completely, which is great, because as a European, I can’t do without it.)

Long story short, the news has finally trickled through into my own stubborn brain as well. I had to travel to the capital yesterday to pick up my new passport from the embassy, and the trains were overrun with people wearing masks. If anyone coughed, the whole compartment would steal a suspicious glance at the culprit as if to ask: ‘have you got it?’. Even if published Coronavirus cases in all of India add up to just 81 people (out of 1.3 billion), the paranoia is real. I guess people naturally assume that the figures must be inaccurate and the situation is much worse already.

Today, perhaps due to fatigue following my intense one-day up-and-down train trip, or the general Delhi-effect, I’m feeling a bit worse for wear myself. For a moment, I even asked myself ‘do I think have it?’ I’m going to go with ‘no’, unless I start developing a cough or runny nose over the next few days.

Anyway, all of this got us thinking. If things do escalate, as they have been abroad, are we prepared? My husband and I are likely going to be fine, but his parents are at risk on multiple fronts. Age, pre-existing conditions, generally being frail and susceptible to any old cough or flu that passes through; all these factors apply to them.

We can’t stop breathing, and as such, we can’t avoid potential exposure altogether. But we can avoid going out so much.

So, in the interest of prepardness, I have gone into hamster mode. Because if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s shopping.

No, I haven’t purchased every last roll of toilet paper in the city, but I have stockpiled essential food items in larger quantities than I normally would. My pantry is full of rice, wheat flour (required for the traditional flatbreads North Indians tend to eat at almost every meal), dried lentils and beans, pasta, sugar, cooking oil and other shelf stable items. I had already canned a dozen or so jars of pasta sauce back when tomatoes were cheap, so that will also help. It’s still a work in progress and I’ve tasked my father-in-law with compiling a list of medicines to keep in stock as well, but I think we’re well-positioned to have enough food for the four of us to last very comfortably for at least 2-3 months. Our stock of toiletries is looking about the same. That’s the target I’m shooting for, anyway.

As for other essentials; we don’t have much power back-up (no generator), but since we use bottled gas for cooking, and always have some spare, we’re okay on that front. Our house is set up in such a way that we have 10,000l of water collected at any given time, so we’re good there too.

So, on to my big question to you: what are you doing (if anything?). Are you concerned? Have you been stockpiling food and other pantry items? Or are you going with the flow and waiting for it all to blow over on its own?

I still refuse to panic, frankly because I’m too exhausted to after yesterday’s ordeal. And compared to previous major pandemics (like the big ones you read about in the history books), this is not going be nearly as serious, I think. It may not even kill as many people as regular flu does, anyway. But, I like the feeling of being at least a little prepared. This is one of those times I’m proud of myself for ‘adulting’ for a change. Also, while I’m not going out for grocery shopping in the foreseeable future, or socialising as much as before, imagine how much reading and writing I’ll get done!

Please, do share how you’ve been coping. I’d love to hear from you!

Oh, and I’ve got a new book out. More about Beauty (Coffee Shop Girls #3), here.

Love,

x, Lorelei

Illicit (Coffee Shop Girls #2)

Out Now!

The Coffee Shop Girls are back with Illicit, in which Kayla shares a mind-blowing kiss with absolutely the wrong guy and things go wrong from there…

Buy or Borrow Now: Amazon

About Illicit

Simon
For almost two decades, I’d been celibate while mourning my wife’s death. As a single dad with a business empire to run, I never had the time or will to start dating again. But from the moment I met Kayla, everything changed.

She’s gorgeous, sharp and has a wicked sense of humour. The mere sight of her awakes something in me that had been dormant for years. We hit it off immediately, until I realise a difficult truth.

Kayla is one of my daughter’s friends. And that’s one boundary I’m unwilling to cross, no matter how much it pains me to let her go.

Kayla
I spotted him as soon as I arrived at the party. Older, sophisticated, but with an edge to him which I couldn’t place. I knew I had to solve the mystery that was Simon. Our conversation soon turns physical, and I’m hopelessly swept up in a passion I’ve never known before. Right up to the moment that we realise who we are to each other.

If there’s one thing you don’t do, it’s make out with your friend’s dad. No matter how charming and handsome he is.

The memory of that one kiss lingers long after the spell had broken. Can I really put it behind me? Can I ignore how he made me feel when I inevitably see him again? Or has our illicit encounter changed my heart forever?

Note: this self-contained steamy read may end up melting not just your Kindle, but your heart as well! If you love steamy body positive romance stories featuring confident older men and a curvy younger women, this second book in L. Moone’s Coffee Shop Girls series is going to tick all your boxes. Every installment follows a different couple from the moment lightning first strikes all the way to their happily ever after. They can be read in any order, but for maximum enjoyment I suggest you start with Book 1, Fireworks.

Buy ($2.99) or Borrow it (FREE with Kindle Unlimited) today: 

Amazon

Fireworks (Coffee Shop Girls #1)

Out Now!

After Mistletoe, come the Fireworks. This book is the first in my brand new series, Coffee Shop Girls. Keep an eye out for future releases, because I promise, they’re coming fast! Enjoy it for free if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber.

Buy or Borrow Now: Amazon

About Fireworks

Lauren
From the moment I bumped into him at the coffee shop, I knew I was in trouble. The way he looked at me – confident as though he’d won me over already – told me he was unlike any other guy.

Lawrence isn’t a boy, he’s a man. And he’s pursuing me relentlessly.

During one whirlwind night together, he makes me feel things I never thought possible; shows me passion I’ve never known before. Could he be the one, or is our love doomed to fail like all the others who came before? You see, guys tend to run once they find out who I am…

Lawrence
Lauren was mine from the moment I first spotted her, she just didn’t know it yet. When I put my mind to something – whether in business or in my personal life- I’m the sort of guy who follows through. I vow to woo Lauren, to convince her she’s the shining beacon that’s been missing in my world, when an unforeseen revelation throws a spanner in the works.

She isn’t who I thought she was. When I find out her last name, it opens up a world of complications.

I’m left wondering… If I want a chance to claim her, just how much am I willing to give up?

Note: this self-contained steamy read may end up melting not just your Kindle, but your heart as well! If you love steamy body positive romance stories featuring confident older men and a curvy younger women, L. Moone’s Coffee Shop Girls series is going to tick all your boxes! Every book follows a different couple from the moment lightning first strikes all the way to their happily ever after. They can be read in any order, but for maximum enjoyment I suggest you start here, with some Fireworks.

Buy ($2.99) or Borrow it (FREE with Kindle Unlimited) today: 

Amazon

Mistletoe

Out Now!

Mistletoe is my first foray into Instalove Romance Novellas, which I’ve been devouring as a reader lately. It serves as Book 0 in the Coffee Shop Girls series, which will start releasing in early 2020. Enjoy them all for free if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber.

Buy Now: Amazon

About Mistletoe

Emily
Ian’s my soon-to-be former boss. A real gentleman, fifteen years my senior, and completely and utterly out of my reach. There’s no way he’d be interested in little old me, right? It’s a good thing I’ve resigned and am leaving this job, and my unrequited passion for the boss behind forever.

But when we flirt at the office Christmas party marking my departure, I can’t help but wonder ‘what if’. Is it just a fling; a fantasy; a little taste that will make every future relationship pale in comparison? Or is this something real?

Ian
I’ve got a couple of hours before Emily will walk out of my life forever. As her superior, my obsession for her has been inappropriate, to say the least. But every time I look at her shapely curves, I can’t help but fantasise about everything I cannot have.

But I’m determined to behave myself and let the moment slip away. Until someone else makes a pass at her, and my protective instincts kick in with a vengeance. Emily and I share an intimate moment and the floodgates of my desire open wide. It’s too late to take it all back.

Tonight can only end one way: with me making her mine forever.

Note: this body positive holiday read may end up melting not just your Kindle, but your heart as well!

Buy ($2.99) or Borrow it (FREE with Kindle Unlimited) today:  Amazon

The Rebound List

Out Now! 

The Rebound List is now live on Amazon as part of their Kindle Unlimited programme!

This means that although generally the book costs $3.99 to buy, subscribers of Kindle Unlimited can download and read it absolutely free!

Buy now: Amazon

About The Rebound List

What would you do after your first real relationship breaks down?

After nearly four years with Jeff, everything fell apart. For the first time in my adult life, I found myself single, scared, but liberated as well. Rather than stumble into another ill advised relationship, I would spend the next few months “finding myself” sexually. This is how The Rebound List came to be.

A virgin, a silver fox, a stranger and a threesome- These are the experiences I chose.

It’s my very own naughty bucket list. A series of challenges set for myself, to figure out what I want out of men and relationships. An excuse to let my hair down, and have a whole lot of fun with zero strings attached.

Will you join me on my journey?

The Rebound List is the second book in L. Moone’s Undateables series. This body-positive chick lit novel contains colourful (British English) language and descriptions of casual sex.

Buy now: Amazon

Growing up Foreign – Thoughts about Language & Culture

My ongoing efforts to streamline and consolidate my various writing and publishing activities have inspired me to to think of 2019 as the Year of Authenticity. It occurs to me that a lot of people who read my work have very little idea of who I really am, except for whatever I share in my bio. That’s about to change.

So, here goes. The first in what I envision to become a series of posts about random thoughts and situations that make me, “me”. As a perpetual foreigner, I think about national identity quite a bit, so this first post is about that.

I’m German. I don’t mean that in the “I did 23 and me, and guess what, it says I’m German!” sort of way. I *actually* am, and have the passport to prove it. But, I’ve never lived in Germany, which is kind of weird, I guess. Still, I’m more German than anything else, so I don’t really have a choice. The “Lorelei” part of my pen name is a nod towards my German heritage.

Born in the Netherlands (colloquially: “Holland”) during the 80s, to a German mother (and a Dutch father, who sadly did not live long enough to see me grow up), I’ve always been aware of my roots. She made sure of that.

I’ve also always been aware of how Germans are viewed by a lot of people in other countries across Europe. The kids who would call me a “Nazi” while growing up made sure of that. And that made me a bit prickly when it comes to how a lot of people deal with “foreigners”.

It’s a weird situation to grow up in. An in-between child. Stuck between the culture, traditions (and language) at home and the wider world we lived in. On the outside, you might think our white, Protestant Christian household, would be much the same as the white, Protestant Christian households of the native Dutch populace. Still, the difference – though subtle – were very obvious to me.

This feeling of “in-betweenness” of course wasn’t helped by the fact that my mom sent me to a private German school for the first few years of my education, because she was considering moving back “home”. We didn’t move though, and I switched to a regular Dutch school at age 11, which brought with it its own host of challenges (as well as more kids calling me a “Nazi”).

When people talk about migrants, multiculturalism and integration, it’s often aimed at people who *look* different. People with a different skin colour and religion compared to what is the norm in any given country. When I pipe up with my own thoughts, it’s often waved away. “No, not you. You’re different.” But I don’t bloody feel different. (I mean, I *do* feel different, which is kind of the point I’m trying to make).

Of course, growing up bilingually had its benefits, so I don’t regret any of it. Generally, growing up in Holland had its benefits too. Had we ended up back in Germany, I probably would have been writing this blog in German, not English. I wouldn’t have been able to express myself quite in the same way. I wouldn’t have had the experiences that formed my persionality and my thoughts as an adult. Life might have turned out very differently indeed.

I don’t want to get into politics, but I do feel people are often quite harsh about “foreigners”, “coming over here” and “wearing their weird clothes” or “speaking their funny language out in public”. The justification is often something like this: When you’re in xyz country, it’s your responsibility to speak in xyz language and do stuff however the locals do. Speak whatever you want at home, behind closed doors, if you must. Etc.

These are all things I’ve heard over and over again, often in the same breath as some statement about how that somehow makes our “multicultural society” better.

I call bullshit.

Sure, I was a weird little kid and I knew it. Initially, I spoke Dutch with a German accent, because that’s what I’d learnt from my mom. That was until I started interacting with more of my peers on the playground and in school, and then the accent went away. I obviously faced some prejudice, because *clearly* the holocaust was entirely my fault, even at age 6. Still, I’m fully aware that whatever shit came my way was nothing compared to what people who *look* different have to go through on a daily basis. White privilege is a thing regardless of nationality.

But just because I *looked* local, didn’t mean I was just going to agree to the cultural homogenisation many people like to advocate for. It didn’t matter to my mom and I that in the Netherlands, Christmas is celebrated on the 25th of December just like in the UK or US. For us, Christmas Eve (the 24th) will always be the bigger holiday. That’s when the gifts are given in my house even to this day.

Obviously you have to learn the local language, no matter where you live. You can’t function properly otherwise. But to expect that people communicate 100% of the time in a foreign-to-them language, even when interacting with their own family is utter madness. The idea that they have to cast off their traditions, embrace only the local holidays, ideally convert to a new religion, just to fit in, is insane.

Sure, some people take things too far and favour their own traditions over the local laws. That’s clearly wrong. But I think the way that this topic is dealt with by many people is so black & white that it just pitches the two groups against each other harder.

Think about it. Have you learned a foreign language? It’s hard, isn’t it? Fumbling over your words, messing up the pronunciation, trying your best to speak one broken sentence, but forgetting that one crucial word and thus not being able to get your point across at all. Practice makes perfect, as they say, but it’s still super tiring.

Now imagine you’re with your family, after a day of doing all that. How much of a relief it will be to slip into your native tongue and express yourself freely.

Language is what makes us human. It allows us to communicate and exchange thoughts and ideas. And most importantly: it allows us to express our feelings; our love for one another.. Expression is a bit pointless if nobody acknowledges it. Why anyone would advocate to take the most important form of communication away from people, just because they decided to move to another country is beyond me. It should be up to that person to decide what they’re comfortable with. Is there really a downside if their kids learn the local language in school, and a second or third language at home? I think not.

I still speak to my mom in German, though we try to switch to another, more suitable language in case someone else is present. Since she’s the only one I get to speak German with nowadays, I’m not getting much practice. Still better than my Dutch, because although I can still pass as native during short visits, I’m super rusty and often the right words evade me. It’s because I don’t speak it much anymore, or at all.

My husband and I speak English, and the in-laws speak English and Hindi (which I am somewhat conversational in now as well).

After years and years of speaking English day in and day out, it has become my language of choice. That’s why I write in it. Language skills are fluid. It’s really amazing how preferences can change over the years. Should we ever move to Germany for any length of time, perhaps that’ll become my language of choice again. Who knows?

But the point is, it should be *my* choice what I’m comfortable speaking and writing in. Not anyone else’s. And that goes for every immigrant equally, no matter the colour of their skin, or where they’ve decided to settle down.

2019: The Year of Authenticity

A couple of months ago, I “came out” and consolidated my pen names. It’s been a work in progress, but there’s no turning back now. My main goal for doing this was openness.  Although anonymity gives me the freedom I need to write freely, I didn’t want to hide anymore either.

But it occurs to me that a lot of “me” is still hidden.

I have a Facebook page, but it’s purely about my writing. I don’t share photographs or intimate details; not even my real name or my face.

While that’s going to stay that way, for a variety of reasons related to privacy and mental wellbeing, I am going to make an effort to be more open. More real. More authentic.

Why? Because there’s really no reason not to. It feels more honest and freeing as well. I miss the freedom of expression that comes with blogging; something I’ve dabbled with occasionally over the years and which I wanted to start again with the launch of the L. Moone name and website. And I’ll have nothing to write about, if I can’t share stuff about myself.

Here are a few things that you – especially if you’re a relatively new (2015 onwards) reader – might not know about me, and which I would like to get out of the way before I add more personal blog posts.

  1. I’m not British – I’m actually German.
  2. I don’t live in London (anymore).
  3. I don’t have kids, but I do have a family.
  4. The awkward goth phase I went through as a teenager never really passed, even if you wouldn’t know it by looking at me.
  5. I self-identify as a motorcyclist, but it’s been a while since I actually rode one. (Scooters don’t really count, do they?)