This next blog post is about a series of events that all happened in different cities. And they only have one thing in common: each tested my strength and each had me wishing I wasn’t alone, or at home instead. But I guess that if I was back in Cape Town, I would not have this story to share with you.

I got sick while still in Cape Town, and it soon became clear that this was a pretty serious flu: a sore throat, cracking voice, swollen glands, aching ears, head throbbing, blocked nose, the works. I left for Istanbul on 23 Augustus. And let me tell you: flying when one is this sick, is no joke. I arrived sicker than before … So much so that I kept falling asleep on set as I had a pretty bad fever. Unfortunately, there was no way to get out of the job, and even though I don’t remember much of the shoot, I somehow got through it.

A summary of my current situation: vitamins, a map, and my passport.

I want to add here that that night, after the first day on set, I cried myself to sleep. I was at my lowest point, physically and emotionally. I have never ever felt as bad as I did that night. And more than anything I wished to be home, in my own bed and taken care of by my husband. But instead, I was all alone in a strange city, knowing that I will be away from home for weeks, and that I have no choice but to face the music.

After shooting for two days in Istanbul, I headed to Munich for my next job. I was high on vitamin C, but apart from feeling dizzy and tired, I was not as sick as the days before. I was lucky enough to have one day off between jobs and spent it in bed, which I believe is always the best medicine. So, my time in Munich was quite okay, the shoot days went well (who doesn’t love shooting almost 30 looks in shoes that are two sizes too small?), and I had the chance to see my lovely agents at Munich Models again.

High on vitamin C and putting on a brave face! Our shoot was done in the streets of Munich, which meant I had to change in the back of a van (totally normal in this industry!)

Next stop: Paris. I rented an apartment through Airbnb for the month of September, and after living in hotels for a week, I was rather excited to settle into something more “homey”. Little did I know that I was sharing this apartment with a souris … The mouse ran across the room just as I started unpacking and I almost wet my pants. Several shivers and shrills later, I decided to book myself into a hotel for the next two nights. The owner assured me she will take care of my furry friend while I am away.

People tried to tell me that mice (and rats, for that matter) are a common problem in Paris. I assume they mean I shouldn’t be surprised. But excuse me? The only way I can be okay with rodents in Paris is by not being in Paris …

Luckily, I had an excuse to leave the city. I was booked to shoot in Hamburg on Monday 4 September and headed for Germany on Sunday. This brings us to the last event in a bizarre two weeks.

Safely in Hamburg, I went to bed at around 22:00, as usual, knowing I will get a good nine hours of (beauty) sleep. Around midnight someone was knocking on my hotel room door. At first, I thought I was dreaming, so I just closed my eyes. But sure enough, there someone knocked again. It was the police! (What the heck?) I was harshly greeted in German, and it took me a few seconds to actually register what was happening. Luckily the two officers switched to English and asked me about a man, a “Herr Lamp”. Me being me thought they meant “put on another light”, so I did. Only to realise they were asking me if I knew this man. I said no, I didn’t. The officers looked confused and asked where I was from. I said I am from South Africa, and offered to show them my passport (my new photo is pretty nice, if I have to say so myself). They hastily declined and left without saying anything. I hardly slept at all after that, as one can imagine …

Hamburg city, as seen from my hotel window.

The next morning, in the hotel lobby, I heard someone say that there was a body found outside the hotel late the previous night and that the police were there interviewing people. This kind of explained my midnight visitors, though I found it strange that they came to my room specifically.

When I got to the studio later that morning, I told everyone about my weird experience. When they heard me say “Herr Lamp”, they all looked shocked and started phoning the police. Turns out that he was the stylist for this job and he was staying at the same hotel as me … And he did not show up for work and was not answering his cellphone. After about the longest hour, we had confirmation that he had indeed passed away the previous night but that no further information can be given.

I did not know him, but death is always sad … So, there I sat between shocked Germans, thinking about how some people believe bad things happen in trios. Our shoot was eventually cancelled and everyone started leaving. I went back to the hotel and just sat on my bed, feeling pretty homesick and alone.

After a strong cup of coffee and a good Facetime session with a girlfriend, I started to feel better. And soon after that I got a text from the owner of the apartment in Paris, saying that the little four legged problem was sorted by a “professional”.

In less than 10 days. I had the flu in Turkey, had an encounter with a French mouse (sadly it was not wearing a beret), and a midnight visit from the German police – straight from a movie scene.  With just a runny nose and a stupid cough still hanging around, I hope that the rest of this trip is absolutely uneventful and passes by quickly. Because a person can take only that much drama!

Love and light,

Katryn