About me

Hi, for those of you who don’t know who I am and are curious to find out…
My name is Katja Bavendam, I was born and raised in Germany but have spent most of the past 14+ years in New York City (with a short detour to Turkey and Spain.)

What’s the first thing that people notice about me? Well, I am tall. 6 feet and 8 inches to be exact (or 2 meters and 3 centimeters for everyone outside of the US or Great Britain). I get asked how tall I am almost every day and I can answer that question in German, English, Spanish, French, and Turkish.

After wonderful years as a professional basketball player, I ended up with  9 screws and a 6 inch metal plate in my leg for about a year and a half. The doctor’s advice was “hang up your sneakers if you want to be able to run after your kids when you’re 40.” I took the advice and ended up in grad school. I have always been rather academically gifted so it made sense. I studied transportation planning & engineering at NYU and got a full time job with one of the adjunct professors right after graduating. That was in June 2013.

Still in New York and still dreaming big and chasing big magic every day.

Thanks for stopping by!

If you’re more of a visual person than reader, feel free to follow me on instagram @katja_bavendam




37 Responses to About me

  1. Mark says:

    Congrats on the blog! Grad school……UGH!
    I look forward to following your blog, as I liked your first blog. It accurately summed some things up..
    Good luck!

  2. Bert Meijers says:

    Great blog! Want to read more!

  3. Fernando says:

    Wonderful blog… You have a talent for writing…..I admire your attitude… I also want to go back to school for Grad school.. (Nerd school as you said.. although I already did a Master in Spain I want an MBA in Europe -Germany seems a great option- or USA).. Best wishes… Look to read more from you!!

  4. FJ says:

    Wonderful blog…. great writing!!

  5. Alex says:

    I have a good friend with a blog using wordpress and I kind of stumbled on yours; you are a really good writer 🙂 But maybe I am biased as I am tall, can speak some German (not fluent by any means), love to travel and have broken my leg once as well 😛

    • Hi Alex, thanks for reading and thanks for complimenting me on my writing 🙂 Where did you learn German? Where are you from?

      • Alex says:

        The where I learned German is a bit complicated……but long story short, I visited Berlin with a friend of mine about 5 years ago and fell in love with the country, people and culture. So I thought it would be a cool second language to learn and have picked up German using Rosetta Stone, some course books, having a few German friends and some German TV (I think TV Total and Galileo are my favorites!). Anyhow, since that first time, I have been back to Europe several more times and back to Germany 3 more times! Hamburg in 2008, Munchen in 2010 and Hamburg again in 2011 (I have a good friend that lives in Hamburg).

        And I’m from the U.S! I live in the state of Iowa.

        Where in Germany are you from? Do you enjoy living in the U.S?

      • Hi Alex, sorry that it took me so long to respond!!

        I’m not to far from Hamburg, small town close to Bremen. Have you been to Bremen? It’s a great city… TV Total and Galileo are good shows!! Congratulations on teaching yourself German, I guess that wasn’t so easy!

        I do enjoy living in the US, but it’s always nice to get a break from crazy NYC when I’m here with my parents (I’m currently home for a few months)

        Do you like living in Iowa?

  6. Alex says:

    No worries Katja! 🙂

    Unfortunately, I’ve never been to Bremen. There is still a lot of Germany for me to see yet…..I’ve never been in the Eastern part (other than taking trains through there) or to the Black Forest or to the cities of Frankfurt or Koln (although my friends tell me Frankfurt is boring :-P)

    You are right, German wasn’t so easy! The vocabulary isn’t so bad, but the grammar takes awhile to get the hang of.

    Yeah I can imagine it is nice to take a break from NYC. After all, NYC has something like 15 or 20 million people when you count the entire metro area; while the ENTIRE state of Iowa has about 3 million 🙂 I really like Iowa though! I’m 30 and I grew up, went to school and have worked here most of my life! Although it is fun to take the semi-regular trip to a bigger city or over to Europe 🙂

    And nice that you get to visit your parents this summer….would hate for your ears to go too long without hearing German 😉 Any summer holiday plans?

  7. Alex says:

    And wow…..I use way too many “smiley” faces!!! lol

    • Hahaha Smiley faces are a good thing! 🙂
      As much as you still have to see of Germany, I’ve probably only covered 0.003% of the United States (and that’s an optimistic guesstimate)
      This summer here in Germany is different than the previous ones. Usually I just hang out and go to play with the national team but I know I spend most time in an office doing an unpaid internship hahah but I’m still a happy camper. Life can be beautiful in many different ways…
      I have a random question for you: what’s the perception / opinion of public transportation of the average Iowa citizen? Do people even know what public transportation means ;-)?

      • Alex says:

        Well the U.S. is HUGE, so don’t worry too much that you have only covered 0.003% of it! Are there any particular states/cities that you would like to visit?

        Haha, well I think I like the idea of hanging with the national team vs. sitting behind a desk at an office 🙂 Did you ever play on the national team before you retired from playing ball? BTW, did the German women qualify for London this summer?

        One comment on your last blog on Netherlands…..I was in Amsterdam when they played in the finals of the 2010 World Cup vs. Spain. I have never seen so many people dressed in orange in my entire life! It was an amazing experience……and I think they were lucky that Heineken is brewed there so no one ever had to worry about running out of beer 😛 I think my favorite saying about the country…..it is so flat that you can see your dog running away for 5 days 🙂

        To answer your question….well my opinion on public transportation might be a little different than the average Iowan. So what you have to realise about Iowa, is that it is about 1/4 the size of Germany; but while your country has roughly 80 million people, we have 3 million. So there are overly large cities and most towns are spread apart by at least a few miles. So therefore driving and parking are not an issue…..and we have zero subways or trams in the entire state and only a couple of the largest cities have regular bus services. So here, I don’t think they are really needed or wanted. But on the other hand, I’ve been to Europe 6 times and I think over there, they are AMAZING. For instance, when I was in Paris, a city of over 5 million, you can get anywhere in the city in less than 30 minutes.

        Anyhow, sorry for the lenghty reply! Hope the internship is going well!

      • Hey 🙂

        yes, I did play with the national team. Every summer. We traveled all over Europe. We were never a winning team but it was a good time. Consequently (not a winning team) there will be no German women’s basketball in London this summer, they are in the qualifying round for the next european championship tournament.
        As far as transportation goes… I know, a lot of damage has been done by the american dream, billions spent on building highways and consequently the deterioration of coherent towns and communities. It’s a huge challenge… anyway… when is your next trip to Europe going to happen?

  8. Alex says:

    That is really cool! Even if you didn’t play on a dominate team, there is something really special about representing your country 🙂 Well with that experience, I assume you have been ALL OVER Europe! So who are some of the better womens’ teams in Europe? I know Russia typically does well (it seems like Russia, the U.S. and Australia always do well on the international stage), but who else is good?

    As far as when my next trip to Europe, good question! I spent two weeks in central Italy this April and had an amazing time there. A friend and I spent time in Naples, Florence, Pisa, Siena and Rome….so we were bouncing all over the place! I had planned to take a trip to northern Norway in late August, but wasn’t able to get away from work. I am tenatively planning on taking a hiking trip to the Republic of Georgia sometime in 2013 with a really good friend of mine, but I would like to take another holiday in between now and then. All just depends on how much free time I can scrape together and to find a travel buddy 🙂

    • Haha I did see a lot of Europe but mostly airports, gyms and Hotels. I still miss the traveling though. I hope I can do a little mor traveling when I have more time and money again haha. As far as the good teams in Europe go. Spain has been and still is a force the last couple of years. Turkey is good, Belarus and yes, Russia of course. Latvia as well, I don’t know why the teams from the East are always strong.
      I love hiking bus so far my hiking experience are more like walks / little day trips. Would love to go on a “real” hiking vacation one day.
      Have I asked you yet what you do for a living? I you’ve already told me, excuse my inattentiveness 🙂 (is that even a word??)

  9. Alex says:

    Ha! Well I am 30 years old and have been speaking English my whole life…….and I have no idea if “inattentiveness” is a word! I know that “inattentive” is a word…..so I am going to say that “inattentiveness” is too. And if not…..well it sounds good, so let’s use it 😛

    As far as what I do for a living, I work for a large international agricultural seed company in the areas of compliance and quality management. Basically I do things like process audits, improvement projects, training, etc. It is pretty cool (most days) and allows me to travel the world, meet some very cool people and see the latest and greatest in the world of science 🙂

    So what do you plan to do when you are done with grad school? Do you want to say connected with athletics or move into a different field? Hoping to work in the U.S., Germany or some other spot on the globe?

    Btw….be glad you aren’t in the US this week! Here in Iowa it has been about +38c all week long!!! Ugh! Thank God for air conditioning!!!!

  10. Alex says:

    And another Btw…..I assume you can see my email…..so if you like, you are more than welcome to just email me or add me on facebook! Bis bald 🙂

  11. Ken says:

    Hey Katja!

    I found your blog a couple of months and have enjoyed your writings, especially the posts about your travels. I’m also from NY (actually Long Island) and love to travel as well. Between business and vacations, I’ve been all over Europe and parts of Asia and South America.

    Anyway, my question: Are you going to write about Croatia? The reason I ask is that I just returned and had the time of my life! My grandfather was from a little island off of Sibenik and we still have family members who live there. Besides going to to Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, and Plitvice, I got to spend 5 wonderful days on their island. It was so surreal to be having dinner in the same house where my grandfather (who I adored as a kid) grew up. I heard so many stories that I never heard about him and all the wonderful things he did for the family back home (he was in the USA by then) after the war.

    If you haven’t been there, you’d probably feel comfortable because I saw a lot of tall people! I’m 6’3″ and saw many women taller than me (some probably as tall as you), especially in Dubrovnik. Lots of German tourists there too.

    Take care,


    • Hi Ken,

      thank you so much for your compliment! I’m glad you enjoy the posts – thanks for reading!
      I hope I will get to do some more real traveling soon but for now while I’m in school the virtual journey around the world will have to do. I’m planning to write about every country from where people have visited my site and it amazes me how many corners of the world that includes and I am sure that Croatia is on that list. I have friends who were just there on vacation, so yes a lot of German tourists there ;-). Maybe and hopefully one day I will be one of them…

      Hope to hear from you again,


  12. johan says:

    hello i’m you fan grettings from chile

    i would be so happy if you response this

    bye ♥

  13. johan says:

    thats would be amazing ♥

    do you speak spanish ?

    • Si, hablo Español. Vivía en España algunos años. Jugué al baloncesto allí con un entrenador que no hablaba ni una palabra de ingles así que tuve que aprenderlo 🙂

      Un saludo a Chile!

  14. Hey Katja, or Kamazing, whichever works …haha, how are you? I wish the best of luck in all your blogging endeavors for 2013! Take care, love.

  15. juanito says:

    visitanos algun dia en chile !!!! te amamos aca en chile

  16. hooman says:

    Dear Katja :
    I enjoyed reading your entry. Writing can be very rewarding. Wow, switching gears from basketball to grad-school is quite a shift. Did you find it challenging ? What are you studying in grad-school ?

    • Hi Hooman (interesting name),

      sorry about the delayed response but better late than never. The shift was challenging, yes. Playing pro sports is not the real world. I studied Transportation Planning & Engineering in grad school and am now working as a traffic engineer.

      Thanks for reading!

  17. Hooman says:

    Hi Katja,
    thank you for your reply, and the comment on my name ! I think that my name means good person. I actually studied engineering in college, and as you probably know, it was very time consuming and challenging. I noticed that you are German (and an athlete). I used to follow the Bundesliga in the past. Germany certainly has talent in soccer, and I hope they win the worId cup this time. I also had a German friend, and I noticed how honest she always was about everything ! (which is a great quality to have) So do you like being an engineer now ? How is your leg by the way ?

  18. James O'Halloran, D.O. says:

    To quote Gen George Patton: I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom. Other than the gender that quote seems to apply well to you. Glad you are making your life work despite the change in careers.

  19. Sabine :) says:

    Hallo Katja,
    jetzt muss ich Dir erst mal ein Kompliment für Deine großartigen Fotos machen :), die so im Netz zu finden sind – Du bist wirklich sehr, sehr fotogen, Du siehst total gut aus – die Bilder sind really echte Hingucker!!!! Mega-toll!!! Und sehr, sehr natürlich… Ich bin über den Tipp einer guten Freundin auf Dich gestoßen, und deshalb schreibe ich Dir diesen Brief und hoffe, dass die Mail ankommt, obwohl ich Dir quasi vom anderen Ende der Welt, zurzeit aus Peru, schreibe…
    Und ich möchte mich ein wenig vorstellen, damit Du weißt, wer Dir schreibt und warum. Ich bin Sabine Müller, und ich habe vor Urzeiten, vor den Internet- und Facebook-Zeiten, Anfang der 90er Jahre, als Journalistin und Redakteurin gearbeitet. Gern hätte ich Dir ein paar Links auf meine schönsten Stories geschickt – aber es gab damals tatsächlich noch keine Online-Auftritte meiner Zeitungen. Ich habe dann später ein wenig geerbt – eine sehr traurige Geschichte, wie das beim Erben so ist, vielleicht mal by chance mehr… ich wollte es nicht, konnte mich aber nicht dagegen wehren…
    Ich bin nicht reich, aber es reicht, dass ich auskomme jeden Monat, denn ich benötige nicht viel. Seitdem, mittlerweile seit fast einem Vierteljahrhundert, reise ich gern um die Welt und helfe, „Entwicklungshilfe“ wird das im Fachjargon genannt – mit dem Begriff habe ich Probleme, doch es führt an dieser Stelle zu weit, diese Bezeichnung zu diskutieren. Ich helfe gern Menschen, die nicht so viel haben, wie wir. Und ich habe das Glück, dies mit meiner großen Leidenschaft, dem ursprünglichen Print-Journalismus ohne Online, verbinden zu können. 🙂
    So helfe ich in Entwicklungsgebieten Menschen, die gern Zeitungen herausgeben möchten, obwohl sie es sich nicht leisten können. Zeitungen, die oft nicht jeden Tag erscheinen, sondern manchmal nur jeden zweiten Tag, manche nur einmal pro Woche, oft irgendwo im Urwald, weit weg von großen Metropolen. In einer kleinen Auflage, gerade mal so durch einen Mini-Preis und einige schwer rekrutierte Anzeigen finanziert, aber dennoch lesenswert. Ich helfe, indem ich selber schreibe, fotografiere. Es gibt soviel Leid in Südamerika, man glaubt es kaum…
    Und vor allem helfe ich gern durch meine Feuilleton-Ideen, mit denen ich schon früher, als ich noch als Redakteurin in Deutschland tätig war, Resonanz erzielte. So veröffentliche ich z.B. seit Jahren Kurzgeschichten mehr oder weniger berühmter Autoren, auch Gedichte, und stelle aktuelle, witzige Fotos dazu. Beispielsweise zum Gedicht von Goethes „Fischer“ ein aktuelles Foto eines Anglers im Hamburger Hafen, mit Blohm und Voss im Hintergrund.
    Heinrich Bölls „Der Zug war pünktlich“ u.a. mit einem ICE. Schillers „Räuber“ mit einem Motiv der New Yorker Börse. Usw. usf. etc. pp. – und irgendwann möchte ich die beigefügte Geschichte des meiner Meinung nach wunderbaren Autors Ephraim Kishon veröffentlichten. Und klar, diese so schöne, ironische Story ist der Grund, warum ich Dich vom anderen Ende der Welt anschreibe. 😉
    „Mit den Frauen geht es aufwärts“ – dazu würde ich gern einige Bilder einer Frau machen lassen, die mit verschiedenen Heels, vielleicht 5, 10, 15 cm (oder so ähnlich) „wächst“. Gar nicht mit einem männlichen Model dazu, so ist es nicht geplant, sondern allein, vor einer Tür, mit einem Zollstock zum Vergleich o.ä. Dabei soll es NICHT um das Thema „große Frau – kleiner Mann“ gehen – überhaupt nicht. Es geht nicht um das Thema „große Frauen“. Sondern um die Kishon-Geschichte und seine liebevoll-ironische Kommentierung von Frauen mit ihren Heels. Und um ein paar witzige Motive in diesem Zusammenhang. 😉
    Und, das weiß ich aus meiner Tätigkeit früher, auf solchen Bildern machen sich hochgewachsene Frauen sehr gut, daher mein kleiner Brief an Dich. Konkret bei Kishon soll, wie bei meinen anderen Geschichten, die ich drucke, die Story im Mittelpunkt stehen, nicht das Foto. Daher stelle ich mir auch vor, dass man für Kishon vielleicht auch Motive veröffentlicht, bei denen man auch nicht unbedingt immer genau erkennt, wer auf dem Foto abgebildet ist (Negativ-Effekt o.ä.).
    Aufgrund der o.g. Vorgeschichte wirst Du ahnen, dass man damit nicht reich werden kann – ich mache das alles ehrenamtlich für die kleinen Blätter, die sich freuen, wenn sie überhaupt gedruckt werden. Und ich helfe mit meinen Geschichten und Fotos. Aber: Wenn Du mitmachst, dann würde ich natürlich dafür sorgen, dass eine gute Freundin oder ein guter Freund, die ich aus Deutschland noch aus meiner Zeit als Journalistin kenne, neben diesen Bildern auch jede Foto-Session für Dich macht, die Du möchtest. 🙂
    Das heißt, wenn Du Fotos für Dich haben möchtest, dann kannst Du das dem Fotografen bzw. der Fotografin sagen – und sie macht das dann alles kostenlos für Dich. Die Fotos könntest Du dann für Dich in jeder Art und Weise kostenlos verwenden, wie Du möchtest. Es sind übrigens journalistische Fotografen, die ich bevorzuge, keine Studiofotografen, das ist für die Stories, die ich publizieren möchte, in der Regel besser. Aber diesen Fotografen könntest Du dann Deine Vorstellungen und Locations mitteilen –und dann wird das laufen, das verspreche ich Dir schon jetzt.
    So, nun mache ich erst einmal einen Punkt. 🙂 Ich würde mich sehr, sehr freuen, von Dir zu hören. Im Voraus bitte ich um Verständnis und Entschuldigung, wenn ich mich mal länger nicht melden sollte. Das liegt daran, dass ich hier in Mittel- und Südamerika nicht immer einen tollen Server finde, über den ich mich online anmelden kann. Manchmal werden auch Mails gefressen, Anhänge sowieso – daher meine Frage: Die pdfs sind mitgekommen? Ich hoffe immer, dass ich bei Freunden Zugänge zu Servern in den USA und in Europa finde, so auch jetzt. Außerdem habe ich parallel noch ein weiteres Projekt laufen: Ich möchte ein Jahr weitgehend ohne Telefon, PC, Online u.a. auskommen und darüber ein Buch schreiben. Diese Mailkommunikation ist die Ausnahme für meine kleinen Zeitungen, denen ich versprochen habe, mit meinen Stories zu helfen. 🙂
    Ich freue mich auf Deine Nachricht, und, wie gesagt, Du bist total fotogen, und ich würde mich sehr, sehr freuen, wenn Du mitmachst, für eine gute Sache, 🙂
    liebe Grüße, zurzeit in der Nähe von Lima, ich weiß gar nicht, wie spät es zurzeit in good old germany ist, hoffentlich wecke ich Dich nicht, ist wahrscheinlich eine mega-unmögliche Zeit im Moment???


    PS: Hey-Hey Katja, merke gerade, dass ich hier die Kishon-Kurzgeschichte (“Mit den Frauen geht es aufwärts” 😉 ) gar nicht als Anhang mitschicken darf. Hast Du eine E-Mail-Adresse? 🙂

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