While Ann-Kathrin Koch may not speak English every day in her hometown of Hamburg, Germany, she is here to kick the English language’s ass and then some. And if that’s not enough, she takes the kind of photographs that make you weak in the knees. This is a feast for all the senses. The heart, the tongue, the eyes, the ears. You can almost smell her photos and taste her words. Janelle and I are both so delighted to bring you this stunning entry to 10 Things.

Matinée
Outside it has been raining for days. Grey, dull skies and an endless trickle of raindrops against my window. It’s only 12 p.m. and the whole day stretches ahead of me like an empty street leading nowhere.

Matinee

I open a heavy door and the street noise mutes to a muffled hum while I walk into a dimly lit room. A dusty smell with a hint of popcorn encases me. As I slide myself into a plush red seat that embraces me like an old friend, the dark blue curtain, with little twinkling lights like the trail of a shooting star, opens.

The light fades and I get swept away into a world where everything is possible. The ultimate escape from reality for least two hours.

On the way home I think about taking a long walk in the pouring rain. It’s only 2 p.m., after all.

I Like Birds
The Eels have been my favourite band for quite a few years now.

The fact that the band is really just one guy, Mr. E, and a never-ending string of guest musicians makes it even easier for me to focus my undying love entirely on him.

I Like Birds

There is something about his scratchy voice on the brink of failing right there and then, combined with his genius when it comes to songwriting that even exceeds the physical attraction to his adorable under bite and geeky fashion choices.

Am I seriously telling you that a hairy guy in plaid bermudas and white ankle socks with laryngitis makes my knees buckle? Well, yes.

Because what he does is write the kind of music that throws you down on the floor, breaks your heart and leaves you weeping.

But then it picks you up again, gives you a hug, wipes the tears from your eyes, pats you on the back and simply lets you know that no matter what, in the end you will be fine.

And that’s why I always come back for more.

PS: E, you rock my world.

My Daily Cartoon
While it is pretty safe to say that Alex would most definitely not place in the top 10 of a ‘Mr. Romantic’ contest he would far outrank everyone in the much more popular ‘Making Me Laugh Every Single Day’ competition.

I am someone who likes to laugh a lot but there are days where it’s not easy to get me to do that. Over the years he has perfected the art of cheering me up on those days by making me laugh about myself.

My Daily Cartoon

I will walk into a room unsuspectingly to find a drawing of myself or rather, of what I apparently look like when I’m asleep. Or running. Or after towel drying my hair. You name it. He’s done it all.

And it works every time. I love these little cartoons of myself looking hideous. It’s a hilarious version of me that he sees – and also sees through. How he finds humor in the tiniest details of my everyday life means the world to me.

Watching The World Go By
Whether it’s in a car, train or airplane, there is nothing better than watching the world pass by your window.

Watching The World Go By

It feels as if I am soaking up everything that I see rushing by just by looking at it. I get high on the colours, shapes and movement while I let my mind wander endlessly.

Every tree and cow and sugar refinery that whooshes past becomes a part of my own private screening. I will take that over TV any day.

Live Rock Shows
It’s the only place where I really don’t mind being surrounded by thousands of strange people who rub their sweaty, half-naked bodies on mine while I get doused with their beer and burned by their cigarettes. I don’t even care that they blow smoke into my eyes from a distance so close they could tell I haven’t plucked my eyebrows in weeks, even though it’s pitch black around us. Nor am I bothered by them singing the wrong words off-key, and at the top of their lungs, directly into my ears.

Live Rock Shows

I don’t mind any of it, because up there, just a few meters away, some guys are on a stage, rocking out and playing really, really good music. And it’s not only good music—it’s also loud music. The bass reverberates inside me until every organ seems to oscillate to the same rhythm. The guitars make my ears ring until late the next morning when my hurting feet remind me that I was squished in this mass of people jumping and screaming for what seemed like a century.

All this makes me so very happy.

Summer Dress

I am not a girly girl. I am most comfortable in jeans. Skirts or dresses make me feel incredibly awkward and overdressed when I am out in public or at work.

But there is one exception apart from dressing up really nice for say, the Vienna Opera Ball or a reception at some royal court. That’s my summer dresses.

Summer Dress

When the temperatures reach an asphalt melting height, I gladly take off the skin-clinging pants and throw on some flimsy excuse for a piece of clothing. It’s all about air circulation. And the swishy movement.

During a balmy summer night with chirping crickets I might even confess that I like being a girl and dress up like one, too. Because the grass tickles so nicely on bare legs when you lie in it to look at the stars.

Morning Sunlight Through My Bedroom Window
It starts somewhere behind my left ear. A small tickle that silently inches towards my face and tries to get to my eyes that are still shut tight.

Morning Sunlight Through My Bedroom Window

But then, the tingling in my nose begins. The longer I ignore it the stronger it will get and it expands and mounts until it spreads all the way into my toes.

Without opening my eyes just yet I turn onto my back and cherish the feeling that no matter how bad yesterday might have been, today everything will be bright and new.

Japanese Wonderland
Haruki Murakami was one of those writers I never wanted to read. Because everyone else already had.

Somehow, though, my mind was changed and I was hooked right after the first book.

Japanese Wonderland

There is a simplicity in his style that lets you experience everything almost first hand. His characters are usually surrounded by tragedy; the plots are dark and gloomy. If there is a love story involved you know it will end badly.

All the essentials are there: Passion, love, hate, mystery, desire, fantasy, death and talking animals.

If you get lured onto the addictive path of reading one of his novels be warned that you will feel the need to sit in your kitchen smoking, drinking whisky and listening to the hum of your fridge for hours. His books are like a slow rainy afternoon with music and lots of time for thinking.

Mango Ice Cream
I don’t even like ice cream all that much.

But this ice cream store recently opened up just down the street and suddenly, I am addicted. By now I know the name of every staff member and I’m pretty sure they call me Mango Lady behind my back, as if it is my fault that their mango ice cream is the most divine I have ever had.

Mango Ice Cream

Imagine the bursting flavour of a ripe mango, its flesh so juicy and sweet that you don’t mind the yellow threads of mango between your front teeth or the sticky juice that’s been running into your sleeve until it pools below your elbow.

Combine this with a creaminess so, well, creamy that all you can think about is how creamy this is. It’s so creamy that you can’t help but exclaim loudly (and repeatedly) how incredibly creamy this ice cream is.

And there isn’t even any cream in it!

Taking A Walk With My Grandma
My grandma is an amazing person. She is 92; despite the fact that she has lived through two World Wars, raised three kids, survived breast cancer, has two fake hips and a very bad case of osteoporosis that made her shrink about 8cm in the last ten years she remains a very positive and happy person.

Lately her medication has been increased so much that there are times where she has trouble remembering things. But there is one thing that seems to lift that fogginess and lets the grandma I remember from my childhood shine through. It’s when we go for a walk.

Taking A Walk With My Grandma

Each time I visit, I arrive to find her waiting for me impatiently — already dressed and halfway out the door. The anticipation is so heartwarming that, no matter how bad the weather might be, I cannot refuse to go for a walk with her every time I come to visit.

She tells me stories that I might have heard a hundred times before but the way she tells them is what matters. Every now and then, we sit down on a bench to take a break and she will look at me or pat my hand and just nod very wisely.

I have never felt as close to her as I do during our walks.