A turning point of my life

  • Post published:December 28, 2023
  • Post comments:10 Comments

Hi there! Long time no talk. If you’re only here looking to purchase a zinstax or binstax, here’s the good news for you: from now on, I can fully devote myself to making zinstax/binstax so waiting time will be much shorter and I’ll probably post more often – because I graduated!

If you’re also curious what happened to me this year, you’re in for a treat.

I’ve been working on my master’s thesis since May. I submitted it at the end of November. I’ve been wanting to write an update since then, but so many things happened this year and I don’t know where I should start. The past six months have been wild for me.

In May, my ex-girlfriend broke up with me. After we hung up, I stared at the ceiling for five seconds before going to check how many days we’ve been together, and it turned out to be exactly 1,002 days, or one thousand and one nights.

So I thought it would be neat to send her a copy of “Tales from the Thousand and One Nights” as a breakup gift. I purchased it through Amazon. Although the cover looked okay-ish in the description, I found it somewhat creepy when it showed up. Plus the cover was scuffed up, so I decided to return it. I doubt she will ever read my silly posts, so she will probably never know. She probably doesn’t even care how many days we’ve spent together.

It was a heartbroken moment for me. I’ve always treated her like my fiancée, bought her stuff like she’s part of my own family. I would buy things in her favorite color, pastel green, because I thought she would appreciate it when we finally move in together. Now I’m stuck with a green dutch oven that I don’t really like. I learned to drink coffee from her, though, and I find making espresso with a lever machine soothing and relaxing, so make that what you will. It’s a Cafelat Robot if you’re also a fan of James Hoffmann (he’s super picky yet seemed to enjoy it a lot).

She had already suggested that we should part our ways seven months prior, in October last year, because I didn’t give her enough respect. I acknowledged my fault and apologized, and everything seemed fine since then. When we met up for the last time in Cologne, I asked her how I did. She said I didn’t do anything wrong, it’s just we were not meant to be. I agreed. I know deep down inside that I’m not attracted to her, I just love her because I am so comfortable with her and so used to her being around. There’s no doubt that my appeal to her also went downhill since when we first met, but I’m not the one who’s brave enough to say goodbye, and I’m glad she made the right decision.

I’m so sorry this has turned into my secret emotional outlet. Come back for more technical stuff in the future if that’s your jam, but this one ain’t it chief.

I’m a deeply emotional man.

Jordan Schlansky

Here’s a little anecdote: on the day of our call, I was preparing the shipment for a batch of binstax. The printer went out of paper when it was printing invoices. It shouldn’t have been a big deal until I realized I didn’t have any more paper left.

Now guess what the invoice number of the last invoice was?

It was 1002, it’s the total number of days we’ve been together.

You really can’t make it up, this sends shivers down my spine every time I think about it; it’s like a manifestation of fate: our relationship has come to an end, and so did my paper supply.

I wasn’t motivated to do anything in the next couple of months. What’s worse, my master’s thesis had officially begun one day after we broke up, but I only wanted to lie in bed all day everyday. I was listening to Death Cab for Cutie’s I Dreamt We Spoke Again on loop for a whole day, until I finally got tired of it and let the second song play:

Sometimes I wake at night
And watch the rain fall through the street lights
‘Cause you’re standing still in my mind
Fading out, waving goodbye

And I wonder where you are tonight
If the one you’re with was a compromise
‘Cause we’re walking lines in parallel
That will never meet, and it’s just as well

Stop reading my mind and get out of my head!

I went to Venice and Paris afterwards to meet up with friends. I shot five rolls of Portra 400 in Venice and here are the ones that I particularly like:

And no, I didn’t bring zinstax with me.

I was in Paris for only two days and bought some leftover alligator leathers.

I also love leather crafting, in case you’re wondering why. Here’s a pair of watch straps I made.

I finally caught COVID on the way back from Paris. I thought I was one of the few lucky ones who dodged the bullets, but life always surprises you when you least expect it, I guess. I was having a high fever of 39.4 °C (103 °F) one night, apparently it was high enough for me to go to the ER immediately. But I went to the bed instead, might as well just die, I thought.

Sorry if it was overly depressing and dark. My ex also mentioned that I am always negative and she didn’t like it. In my defense though, I was just joking most of the time, and she doesn’t seem to appreciate my sense of humor. I enjoy watching Family Guys but she isn’t a fan, to say the least.

It took me a week or so to recover, and it was already the end of September. I didn’t do much with my master’s thesis in the meantime, because, 1. I didn’t think there was much to do and 2. the emotional damage was hard to overcome. Have you ever had the feeling of love turning into hatred? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a psychopath, it was a mixed feeling of disappointment and grief.

The subject of my thesis is designing an injection mold with some extra tweaks in it. I always thought all I needed to do was documenting and describing my injection mold. However, according to my supervisor after a routine appointment one Tuesday in early October, I should have done simulations using my CAD-Models as well, because otherwise my thesis would be too easy and hollow. I suddenly came to the realization that there wasn’t much time for me to finish my master’s thesis.

“It was at this moment he knew… he fucked up.”

I entered a state of constant panic attack. It’s like your palms get sweaty in an exam with half the questions unanswered when there are only 5 minutes left. Except it was two months instead of five short minutes.

I started to stay up super late running simulations and writing thesis. At 3:23 AM in the institute, while fetching a cup of water, I couldn’t help but notice how perfectly the situation resembles a scene from a horror game. Getting beheaded by a ghost created in a lab, you know, that kind of thing. Something like Outlast or The Mortuary Assistant. I don’t play games, I watch Markiplier play them while making zinstax.

I was too tired one night and decided to get some sleep. The best spot I could find in the institute was on these cushioned seats. They weren’t the most comfortable and I struggled to drift off. And it’s hard to fall asleep when you’re having a panic attack.

After what felt like 30 minutes, I gave up, went to get my laptop, and started laying down some more words until the sky became brighter. “I really should go home now, take a shower, and come back,” I thought, and then I saw the most beautiful dawn.

I stopped replying to emails. I’m really sorry if you sent me an email and didn’t get any reply. I wanted to, but every time I opened up my laptop, I went straight to write my thesis. I started writing it on the bus, even though it was only a 10-minute ride. I took this shot as soon as I realized how ridiculous it was. I looked so much like a “Streber”, which means “overachiever” or “nerd” in english (I asked ChatGPT about the translation, it’s one of those magical german words).

I missed the last bus to go home the other night. I sleep in the institute sometimes if there’s was a lot to do. Sometimes I can let the simulations run in the background and go home to get a few hours of sleep before coming back to check out the results.

So I rode a scooter back home. It was drizzling. “What am I doing with my life?” is what I was thinking the whole time while riding it on a freezing winter night in the rain.

Before you ask, of course I tried to extend the deadline. It turned out to be quite difficult. I had to submit a request to the examination board with credible reasons. I mentioned that I got COVID, had to run a business and had to look for new apartment to move into (I’ll touch on this later).

I submitted my request to our new study advisor. It was likely the first application he had ever received. We used to have an awesome study advisor who never seemed to reject any application.

The new advisor told me the reasons I gave weren’t good enough. He said I can’t use the COVID as an excuse if I don’t have a medical certificate (although he seemed to trust me in that regard and not think I was making it up). And there are students who also work while writing the thesis, so he can’t give me that as well. He said the only chance I have is to argue that I have to find a new accommodation in the past few months, and suggested that I should only extend the deadline by two weeks. I revised the request and prepared for the worst-case scenario: rejection. This was three weeks before the original deadline, the clock was ticking.

A few days later I got an email from him with an approval. The Professor who approved my request literally has “Jesus” as the first name, how awesome is that. Now I have two more weeks to work on my thesis, though in hindsight, it still wasn’t enough.

Seeing your name on the screen for the appointment discussing your thesis defense really doesn’t help with the panic attack.

And there’s a penis at the bottom of this glass.

This was just minutes before my second defense. I had two thesis defenses with two different professors due to reasons I won’t get into. Following the defense, they had me wait outside for 10 minutes before inviting me back in to share the score. Unfortunately, it wasn’t great. The feedback emphasized a lack of methodology, as I had mostly presented my results. Well, fair point, but it would have been helpful to know the specific aspects they wanted me to discuss. My written thesis has a ton of methodology stuff, and I had assumed the focus would be more on the results, just like the first defense. However, there was nothing I could do besides smiling and expressing gratitude for the feedback. It seems no one, even my supervisor, understands the struggle and sleepless nights I went through, and it was truly frustrating. My supervisor did say my results are great, though.

Can you believe this thing is over 180 pages long. I actually had too many characters in the end, and you’ll sure as hell get point deductions if the character count goes beyond 150,000. Apparently no one wants to read a student’s ramble. I managed to delete 10,000 characters in just two hours, seven hours before the midnight of the deadline. When I checked, it was around 200 characters under the limit, it was a miracle. I didn’t have time to proofread so there were for sure some spelling mistakes in it. Meh.

It’s a work of art if you ask me, just like my products. /s

This is me signing the statement under oath, that I wrote the thesis all by myself. Yeah, sure, I really worked my ass off for this. I was so happy my suffering was finally about to end.

This is my friend helping me put together these loose pages. He stayed with me until around 9 PM that day. Shout out my guy Nuno!

So this is our university’s deadline mailbox. Everything that is thrown in before midnight are considered submissions for the same day.

It wouldn’t fit if it were a couple of pages thicker. Phew.

I baked a cheese cake for my supervisor. She liked it. I know I bake bomb cheese cakes.

In the next couple of days, I cleaned up the files related to my thesis and left the institute for good. I should have felt relieved, but I didn’t. It felt as normal as any other day.

I mentioned that I’m looking for a new apartment. A friend of mine left for Berlin and agreed to let me move into his apartment. It’s much larger than mine and is located in the city center. I thought it would clean up nicely.

Until I found black mold behind the big wardrobe.

It’s a big no no for me. After getting in touch with the landlord, everything in his apartment has to be torn down and thrown out. He was touring in northern Italy, so another friend and I took care of it.

So why do I have to find a new accommodation?

I have a borderline abusive aunt, who always gets aggressive and hostile if you don’t go along with what she says. I didn’t get along with her very well one time I was visiting her alone, for three weeks during my adolescence. She said hurtful things and I now think it was because she didn’t know how to communicate with a teenager as she never had child. She never apologized, keeps brushing off as what she believes is necessary to discipline a teenager. So I steer clear of interactions with her, and I know deep inside I’m afraid of her.

At the start of my studies, she had some kind of agreement with my dad to purchase a small apartment for me to stay in, so we don’t need to pay rent. It’s nice of her, granted, but it’s something I never asked for. She has then been accusing me of, for example, being “ungrateful” and I honestly don’t know how to react. I offered to compensate her financially but she refused. I stopped answering her phone calls, told her to text me instead.

For reasons, she asked me to move out by the end of November. I mostly ignored her because my thesis’s deadline was Nov 22nd. She agreed to extend the deadline to March when I told her the apartment I’m about to move in had mold.

She mentioned that I seem to forget a lot of things or details about her and the apartment, and jokingly, in a cynical way, suggested that I’ve been working too hard and should probably have my brain checked. I didn’t think about it until her words struck me, so I looked it up.

According to Mayo Clinic,

Dissociative disorders are mental health conditions that involve experiencing a loss of connection between thoughts, memories, feelings, surroundings, behavior and identity.

Dissociative disorders usually arise as a reaction to shocking, distressing or painful events and help push away difficult memories

I actually do have quite a bunch bad memories about her, which are now all blurry. I only faintly remember they weren’t exactly pleasant.

The causes of dissociative disorder are, according to NHS,

Someone with a dissociative disorder may have experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse during childhood.

Switching off from reality is a normal defence mechanism that helps the person cope during a traumatic time.

It’s a form of denial, as if “this is not happening to me”.

I never thought I would develop mental health issues, so I probably don’t have any. I also wouldn’t describe it as an “abuse” or “traumatic” like I’m playing the victim, and to be honest, if I were her, I would’ve gone ballistic too. That being said, her menacing speech or actions are not justified. I’m considering getting an appointment with a psychiatrist because self-diagnosis isn’t exactly valid, and most importantly, I just want her to shut up about me being “ungrateful” – I mentally can’t and I’m sick of hearing it. I actually prefer “forgetting a lot of stuff about her” because that makes me happier.

So that was my second half of 2023. I lost my girlfriend after one thousand and one nights, finally caught COVID after dodging so many bullets, graduated after completing an utterly painful thesis which totally didn’t f*ck up my hormones and body clock, realized my aunt might’ve been giving me mental health issues while actively looking for a new apartment.

I don’t know where I’ll end up or what to do next, but one thing is for sure, the chapter of my life as a student is over.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Kymberly

    You’ve had quite a year! I truly enjoyed your writing and I hope that you do seek out treatment for mental health. It’s heartbreaking what some people do to other people and they seem so unaware of the reality of what they do. Best of luck to you in 2024! I wish good things for you.

  2. Enoch

    Hi, My name is Enoch I am an employ at Nippon Photo Clinic in NYC. We repair film cameras including the RZ,RB and more. I recently came across your website because we’ve had customers coming with the Instax back on their RZs and RBs. I came here with a genuine curiosity on how the hack you managed the put a Instax back on these bodies. Me being genuinely surprised on the journey you have gone through, congratulations by the way on your masters, I have ordered a Zinstax just because now I realized how much effort, love and care you put into your work. I hope you have an amazing New Year full of positive things !

  3. Jheeyeung Lee

    Good to hear from you again. Hope you the best.

  4. Emmanuel Ramses

    Wow, that is a lot. 2023 does not seem to have been too kind to you, but you pushed through. I am happy for you and hope 2024 is a much better year. Cliche, I know, but when we experience these things, our core is strengthened and at some special point in life, we look back and appreciate how the experiences molded us into who we were destined to become. Fair winds, my friend.

  5. Lachlan

    Thank you for writing this, I took great enjoyment in reading it. I came by not expecting to see such heartfelt autobiography, thank you for sharing. I hope that 2024 is a better year for you, whatever your productivity goals.

    BTW Streber probably translates directly to the root word for strive in English. ‘Someone who strives to achieve’, something like that

  6. G.


    What a strange year you had. Glad to hear that you finished your grad work and defended thesis. Whatever else happened – believe me – you’ll remember as a blurry time of crysis, which has passed and not going to happen ever again. What’s even funnier is that later you’ll not just get over it, but feel like a good story, especially how you had to overcome everything. Believe me, I have several similar stories which go back to my student time. I like how Russell Crowe’s character described his memories in ‘A Good Year’ movie: ‘they were grand’. I believe the same and have a feeling that you’ll share the experience in due time.

    Enjoy your freedom and have fun!

    -Some random stranger

  7. Tin

    Resonated with a lot of the feelings dealing with all those hurdles in life. Can’t imagine how much more is needed to push through, but def got some heartfelt friends.

  8. Anymous

    Cheer up, almost to freedom

  9. Shirley

    Congratulations on your graduation and the beginning of a new life. Wishing you all the best 🙂

  10. Nick

    Very interesting to hear all you went through, I hope you are doing better now

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