Reader, writer, storyteller, English trainer, and fighting for better mental health care systems.
I have lived a truly colorful if jumbled, life. Never staying in one place too long, I have, at various times lived all over the world. From the hustle and bustle of New York City, USA, to the efficiently organized Berlin, Germany, to the …well, the familiar hustle of the States again, and then back to Europe once more for good measure. With 5 transatlantic moves from hot dogs to Bratwursts, surely I should get the 6th one for free.
As of 2020, I now consider myself a New Yorker living in wonderful Berlin. With over 16 years of residence in both, these cities have heavily influenced who I am today. So I have the brash and loud nature of a New Yorker, but I compensate it with all the warmth, fun-loving persona of the Germans.
WRITING & STORYTELLING
While I never really considered myself to be a “writer”, I always had a passion for the written word, whether it be writing a journal on and off over many years, or conversing with pen pals abroad, or writing my first poems and short stories as a little girl. I’ll be honest, they weren’t my best work. But hey, the spelling and penmanship were out of this world.
As I progressed, my future endeavors as “still not a writer” varied; working on screenplays for short films, real estate marketing, blogs and articles for NY International online magazine, and by far the most exhilarating of my works, the 1996 hit, a 145-page thesis at a business college on “Financing the Arts and the Theatres in Berlin”. My plans for a German Art Centre located in New York City may not have come to fruition, but I’m adamant I will one day open an arts center. Until then my thesis will continue to hang over me, mocking me from my bookshelf. It took me a while to realize, that through all my personal and artistic endeavors, a story was growing. A story I continue to write to this day in my memoirs – boy did that journal come in handy – and from which I have performed excerpts before wonderful crowds at THE MOTH in London and storytelling events in Berlin.
I believe our mental health care systems are in a crisis and that the current drug-based paradigm of psychiatric care has failed society and calls for profound changes, this is why I recently started creating the website tenderhearted guardians. The core purpose of this website is to empower people to be tenderhearted guardians of their own mental health and the mental health of the people around them.
I’m also working on the proposal for a radically different way to approach how we offer help to people who are experiencing emotional distress. I will publish this proposal – if all goes well – on May 16, 2021 on the website tenderhearted guardians. A business plan for a ‘model’ located in New York City and a separate business plan for a ‘model’ located in Berlin will be available on request.
EDUCATION AND QUALIFICATIONS
A snapshot into my education shows that I am a graduate of business administration and marketing in Berlin, a student of psychology in Saarbrücken, and a student of media philosophy in Switzerland. Don’t judge me, this may sound pretentious, but I got to take classes with film directors Mike Figgis, Peter Greenaway, and scary disk jockey DJ Spooky, so there! My qualifications confirm my status as a licensed New York real estate broker, and a certified negotiation expert. This refers to real estate negotiations. I am, unfortunately, not qualified to take on hostage negotiations…yet!
And now, as of 2019, I am a CELTA certified teacher of English as a Second Language.
Professionally, my life has been just as muddled, with a wealth of artistic endeavors working in the theater, music, and film in Germany. You might remember me from such roles as a Speech Expert Witness in the German reality court TV series Richterin Barbara Salesh? It was a small part, but some say I stole the show…..continuing on to the more labor-intensive bar-tending my way through college in different live music venues in Berlin, to the dizzy heights of real estate brokering throughout New York City, and adding now my new activity as an activist and a teacher of English as a Second Language. It has been a diverse collection of rewarding and enlightening experiences. Although probably the most dramatic was working as a cab driver in Berlin, on that wonderful day in 1989, during the fall of the Berlin Wall. They say fall, but it was quite clearly pushed. Look it up on YouTube.
There have been so many turning points in my life that I seem to be running in circles, yet always moving forward. My first transatlantic move as a 10-year-old child in 1974, the loss of my father as a teenager in 1977, moving to New York City as a business college graduate from Berlin in 1996, Ben Vereen moving into the loft across the hall from me in the beautiful Clocktower building at Brooklyn’s waterfront in 2001 and then back to Berlin in 2015.