Friday 17 October 2014


I am back , and don't you think I have not been writing!

Letters, all unsent; poems, some posted on facebook, but most of them stuck to the wall of my study. One day I might be able to turn them into a story that makes sense, but for now it must be enough that I am ready to share again.

I still live in my house; I still have my cat; I have the same friends and the same job and yet, a big change has happened: I have brief periods during which this person, who usually scrutinises the past to project it into the future, actually is living in the moment, is doing what she is doing because she can.

Having lived in a very harmonic relationship for 30 years, very planned and very low risk, I had to learn what freedom is. I am not entirely sure that I really grasp the concept, but I know that I have it. I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT! How many people would kill to be able to say that, while I am not really sure what to do with this gift.

I am a person who feels safe in relationships; people, location, work. I always thought that I am a free spirit, but am I really? I do like to have control over my actions but if I see sense in something I am quite happy to constrain myself. Well, this is one way of using freedom, yet most people would probably use it to run and roam.

And that is exactly what I am going to do. I now have my lovely motorcycle and I will ride. I will make plans, one has to start somewhere, but as I don't have a SatNav and am usually lazy to get my mobile out, I will inevitably get lost. This is the moment when the real journey starts. I will just go and see where I end up, nobody will know where I am, and neither will I. And those will be the stories to fill my travel blog again.

So, cross fingers that the weather will be good on Sunday, the plan is made, the game is on!

Friday 28 February 2014

The small things in life - 1

I live on my own, in my new environment, for about half a year now and my life has fundamentally changed. The main thing is that I do not have this trusted partner anymore, who allowed me to steam off and to work through things by talking about it. After 50 years of learning how to communicate and not to bottle up, I now am bottling up a lot, and at times I feel I am suffocating. It's not the big issues of life, that bother me; I still have my good old trusted friends to help me through those. It's the little annoying bits of life, which at times hit the essence of me: Don't talk to loud, don't say this, don't do it this way,... don't wear this, don't talk about it... stay the same but different... basically....

I know that it is normal to be criticised on small things, we all get it and funnily enough we get it most from people who we care for, and who care for us. They are the ones who can feel embarrassed by us and they are the ones who think they do us good in guiding us into a better direction. If they however criticise the things that hit my inner me, then it hurts. The first instinct is to resolve this pain by trying to make them understand, but wile for me the matter is important for them it's just a tiny thing, not worth mentioning anymore; suck it up Rika. Every further attempt from my side results in even more annoyance. I know that I cannot change them, but that I can try to find my own reasonable standpoint that makes the pain go away. This is what I trained myself to achieve over the last ten years and I became quite good at it. But now I am missing my sounding board, the person who knows me inside out, and understands that I don't want advice but need to be able to reflect.

I do have a few nice new friends, but one might not want to overstretch those new friendships. And they don't know me well yet, they don't entirely understand my trail of thought. Now I have a new plan: instead of resolving after the incident the way forward is to avoid it. I shall try to lay my heart on the table, telling everybody where my limits are, what hurts me and what doesn't.

People might read or not read. People might use it against me, for me or for themselves. But at least I cannot be blamed for being too difficult, too much, too little... You will get what it says on the tin, and I will be braced for the good and the bad.


 I am like an airbed

I am like an airbed; I am a safe bed to rest on, warm and cosy. If you choose to lie on me you won’t have to worry about anything anymore.

Just get me excited about anything and I inflate. I will achieve things for you I myself wouldn’t have thought able doing. I reach for the stars and I jump over the moon for you. If you trust this good old bed and let it do its work, it will give you more comfort than you ever thought you would have.

You need to know that I am old style of airbed, though. I was made that way; it is part of my essence. I do not have an inlet valve.

At times you might feel that I am a bit too bouncy, a bit too hard, and a bit annoying, really; you might think about opening that inlet to vent a bit of steam. I tell you now, so you know what you are about to do: No matter how quickly you close it again, you quite likely will deflate me. I won’t be able to reach the stars anymore, and the moon will stand much too high. All my energy will go into juggling that bit of air left to not lose your trust and to still keep you safe, while trying to pump myself up again. And I am worried that I might not gain back that bounce that lets me pick the stars for you.

Sunday 15 September 2013

Catching up on one year of life - Part 2: Abandoning the bucket list

So here I am, in my new house, still painting walls, and moaning at times about stuff in boxes that stays elusive despite my efforts to label and remember, yet feeling settled and with a rudimentary routine established. What now?

I am used to having plans, it is nice to have something to grit my teeth into, and to feel accomplished once it is done. I always thought, that having this thing they call 'a bucket list', would make me feel alive, spur me on, and give life a purpose. It surely was useful when I felt a bit in a rut. Having a plan is a good kick in the rear; following through adds a few body chemicals, which want me to do more of the same. Accomplishment is a good drug  against all sorts of fears and worries.

However, when I wrote the previous post and read through the old bucket list, I realised: There is nothing scary left that life could throw at me. I separated from a husband, moved house on my own, selling and buying, managing all the stuff I used to hate from gas to water and whatever accounts one has to have, I found the love of my life and lost it again, I found new friends, and I attend to new hobbies. As a matter of fact I changed my entire lifestyle and value system. Since I am riding a bike I even made my peace with fears about injuries and death. My initial worries that I may lose a friend in an accident have calmed. I was not any better than my non-biker friends and family who warn and worry ever so often. I needed some time to acknowledge that injury and loss are part of life, and not mine to worry about. Another month however, and my latest will and testament will be legal; I have worked too hard to know what I really want and to understand it all, to not take care of my last wishes.

Even the small things are taken care of now. I always had a linking for goth and over-the-top clothes, which I mainly used for photo shoots as otherwise they would cause quite a bit of embarrassment. Now they have found a new home in the biker scene. When I furnished my house I ended up with decorations I never thought I would choose. Apparently I have a completely different taste to what I thought - well, a lot of my taste seemed to have been inspired by fashion and social convention. Being able to show off status was important, to fit in, to belong...

With my worst nightmares being lived through already and the wish for 'belonging' out of the way, this woman can go as bonkers as much as she likes; no need for a bucket list anymore. The world is my oyster!

Friday 6 September 2013

Catching up on one year of life – Part 1: The Split-Up

Goodness me, THAT was an intense year! It is often said that time flies faster the older we get; oh how much would I love to get the time back from when I was a kid and waiting through those loooong, long weeks until Christmas, or all the time that I have wasted in front of the telly watching soaps in the middle of the day, when I was a student. Now things were so busy that I have not been blogging since March – that is almost half a year.

Well, time was only one reason to take a rain check for a while: The things that bothered me most were hitting too close to home and this is not helping to write fluffy lifestyle columns.

I always was fascinated by the idea of a Bucket List and this last year has taught me that it is one thing to tackle the things I chose myself, but that it is quite another to deal with the things that life at times will add. I am glad about my previous deliberate challenges, I don't think I would have coped the way I did without already being in this 'head on' frame of mind.

The first big challenge was to resolve a marriage of 28 years. I guess the relationship had a shelf life and it just slowly expired. We had achieved everything that we wanted to achieve and all of a sudden there was a bit of a void, which we both wanted to fill differently. It needs a while to realise that something is not quite right, and then it needs a lot of guts to actually do something about it. I learnt that resolving a long relationship is more about loss of status, what the neighbours and friends might think, to not worry family and close friends too much, financial stability, and all sorts of other stuff which I tend to call external, as they don’t have anything to do with what was going on between my husband and me.

In the eyes of the world we had the perfect marriage, were a perfect team and a perfect match. I could see the fear in the eyes of other couples: If we wouldn’t make it… how would they ever…

And that was my status: I was the perfect housewife, the hostess, the carer. That was my thing, the role of my life – and all of a sudden there was… Nothing!

I needed a couple of years to come to terms with the fact that our marriage was closing to an end, and after I had learnt to cut out all the external factors it became easier to move on. When we eventually split in October 2012 all the grieving and detaching and finding a new position in live had already been done and it was a relief to do the final step.

The one bitter fruit that persisted was loss of financial security, and again: From previous experience I learnt that procrastination is the biggest killer of joy and happiness… if it is looming, do something about it! My husband was incredibly generous and still fully supported me, so that I was in the quite lucky position to keep the house, but …

… did I want to stay dependent on other people,  e.g. husband, potential new woman… ? Short term a wonderful and effortless thought of not worrying about money; Long term this thought was unbearable. So I cut the strings. I felt depressed by the thought that I might never see my Tangkahan family again, that I might not have any contingency for illness or the comfortable things in life that we take for granted like cars and washing machines.

Scary! But my guts told me to find my independence, so I started work full time in February and by April it became clear that I would not be able to maintain the house. The house that I had loved so much; all my efforts had gone into building it into a home. Yet again it I needed to find the right point of view: What I wanted to keep was the ‘home’ and after I had realised that all that was left over was a house, it was easy to sell. Within four month it was gone and I had moved into a smaller one. Well, and as I was on it: Why not move to where I wanted to be? Closer to my new biker friends, back into a more rural area and away from work. That way I ended up in the small town of Stowmarket.

… and I love my little house. During the one month I am living here it has become a home and I can hardly remember the old one.

Life did well, to fiddle with my bucket list!

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Rika is back

Well, I had a bit of a roller-coaster ride of a year, from splitting from husband to having a fling, finding a new man, losing him, moving house, diving into the motorcycling lifestyle specifically the chopper scene, which by itself is worthwhile writing a novel about.

So here I am back, reporting how my life goes for everybody who wants to know.

I will go into detail about the various things that happened over time, for now the most fun part is my motorcycling life and here is the blog in which I am writing about it: Hero Garage / Forever Two Wheels

I hope you will like it!