14 October, 2016
I don't often publish speeches from politicians or political figures on this blog. But, I enthusiastically do so this morning.
These last weeks and months have been scary ones. We are all waiting with trepidation for Americans to end this electoral escapade. We are hoping they will out-trump Trump, but voting Ms. Clinton into the presidency.
I don't believe the hate-mongering, misogyny, xenophobia, will then come to an end. Rather, the new government will have to face these forces face on. Every single day from now on.
Michelle Obama manages to appeal to our common need for decency and tell us that we need to refocus our efforts. I can not say how touched I was listening to her words. Her speech is not a confabulation of 140-characters of sound bites, but a slow study of elegance.
11 October, 2016
10 October, 2016
09 October, 2016
"I continued to fight. That is what saved me."
- Adolfo Kaminksy
This touching video is an adaptation from the book, Adolfo Kaminsky: A Forger's Life. It is written by Mr. Kaminsky's daughter Susan, who is also in the film. You can find out more The Times.
There is such a need at the moment for all of us, in whatever way possible, to fight for the refugees needing a safe haven. It is inspiring to know Mr. Kaminsky never stopped fighting to make sure the words, "all humans are created equal", are not empty words.
03 October, 2016
It saddens me greatly to see what an impossibly hard time Ms. Clinton has had during this campaign to be recognised as a strong candidate for president. As far as my memory goes, there has never been a presidential candidate in the last 30 years who has as much political experience and insight as she does. Not only does she understand what true challenges lie ahead of her as president, she has the connections and relationships to world leaders, and their respect, to handle the difficult years ahead.
It saddens me further to know how difficult it is for her and other women of power to make their true selves be known.
26 September, 2016
Clinton = Aspects were complicated, but not illegal
Trump = Unethically unprecedentedly compromised
May Americans please stop for one moment and listen one more time about the scandals following Clinton and those that should leave massive holes of doubt about Trump.
25 September, 2016
21 September, 2016
Would it be possible for the US government to just think twice about what is wrong with their logic for refusing refugees entry into the US? You are talking about people whose lives have been devastated. People who have lost everything.
It is as if the US had said after WWII, they would not accept any survivors of German concentration camps because maybe some Nazis could slip in as well.
Sorry, I usually don't react so impulsively, but after listing to John Oliver's critique, I couldn't resist.
16 September, 2016
11 September, 2016
My forefathers left Their Ireland
And freedom from poverty
The misery, the misery, seeped into their bones
The misery sits deep in our morrow even today.
We are all survivors, witnesses, culprits
03 September, 2016
02 September, 2016
Then I tried a marvelous co-working space in the middle of the city and not far from where we lived. This worked very well for a few years. It is a good community of people and the work environment inspired me. Over time though, for whatever reason, my interest to participate waned.
I am not sure it had anything to do with the community, but rather to do with the changing circumstances of the work I was doing and the children leaving home to go off to university. I was doing a lot of in-house training and coaching and felt that I was having to interact with enough people on a day-to-day basis. When I was not doing training, I was creating e-learning and blended-learning material for companies. This required a lot of peace and quiet and that is not always available in the co-working office.
For the last two years I have, what I call, a nomad office. All the materials I need to work are in a small roller suitcase. I go off in the morning into town and spend the day going from one place to another and working. I have a long list of cafés, public sitting areas, libraries, and park benches (if the weather is good) where I while away my time.
I love working this way. It is easy to work with concentration for about an hour or two and then I leave, go for a walk and then change locations and continue working on a task. If the task needs extreme focus or concentration, I do it at home in my living room.
Alternatively, I have been taking working holidays. Visiting friends and asking them whether I can work at their places during the day when they are at work. The photo above was my office space this week. Amazing, isn't it!
So far this year, I have taken working holidays in Amsterdam, Montreal, and now, Wischhafen (a small village on the North Sea). If all goes well, I will also be in Heidelberg later in the year.
07 August, 2016
I went and talked to Joan in the studio he was working in today. The one portrait is nearly finished of a school child (my daughter) on her first day of school.
The words above her silhouette are taken from my favourite poem from Rainer Maria Rilke, Ich lebe mein Leben in wachsenden Ringen. Here is a pretty good translation of the poem:
The reason I chose those words is because I believe that all children and particularly my children have been the greatest blessing I have received in my life. So the answer to the question is "a great song" when it comes to what their presence means in my life.
06 August, 2016
In the photo above he is making up a drawing of my daughter on her first day of school. His street art is often on paper, which he glues on walls. Weather and vandals influence the condition and length of stay of his street art.
This is the story behind the story of this photo.
Early morning battle
When I was a child, my sisters and I wore the clothes our mother chose for us to wear, especially when it came to special occasions. To my chagrin, my daughter had a different idea from the moment she was old enough to stand on her own feet and open up her cupboard door. She was the master of her wardrobe and the decider of her fashion statement. Every morning she and I entered into a battle over what she would wear that day. Her fashion choice was one of serendipity and did not take into account weather or practicality. It was a battle I nearly always lost because of her tenaciousness and our immediate need to get her dressed and out the door to her kindergarten. On the morning of her first school day ceremony, we had a battle of monumental proportions.
The evening before, we hung out two beautiful dresses she could choose from to wear on this special occasion. One dress was a red velvet sparkled with stars. The other one was a blue-and-white striped navy theme. You might be wondering, why two dresses?
This is because it was the only solution for getting my daughter and I out of the department store’s changing room without tears. My tears, not hers. She had been trying on dresses for two hours and her wide selection of possible dress choices had been painstakingly reduced to two, which was when the standstill occurred, thus leading to my buying both.
Dawn comes and we are all running around getting showered and shaved (my husband) and breakfast on the table. I call everyone to the table. Our son, my husband, and I sit down in our dazzling festive outfits and then my daughter comes into the room wearing her favorite old-and-should-have-been-long-ago-put-in-a-garbage-bin cotton leggings and t-shirt. I innocently tell her, she doesn’t have time to play, since we are due at the school in 45 minutes. I ask her to go and get her dress on. She says she wants to wear her leggings and not her dress.
What ensued was not a pretty scene. Lots of arguing back-and-forth. Lots of tears were shed. (My tears.) Lots of exasperation felt towards the other party not seeing reason. (Her exasperation towards me.) No willingness on either side to back down.
As the minutes ticked away and the point-of-no return was rapidly approaching, I made an executive decision and give her an ultimatum. Brandishing a large pair of scissors, I said she could wear her leggings, but if she did, I would cut through her dresses.
I know, not a proud moment. Pedagogically wrong. Complete loss of dignity. Relinquishment of all parental control.
She looked at my face, saw the resolve, turned around and went back to her bedroom.
Five minutes later she came back in the room wearing her beautiful red velvet dress sparkled with stars and walked to her new school with a happy skip in her step.
16 July, 2016
- Read, currently:
A Walk in the Woods (Bill Bryson), Was ich noch sagen wollte (Helmut Schmidt), Third Culture Kids (David C. Pollock), The Heart of Buddha's Teaching (Thich Nhat Hanh), Flying Solo: How To Go It Alone In Business (Rober Gerrish, Same Leader and Peter Crocker), Mistborn Trilogy (Brandon Sanderson), The Quest: Energy, Security and the Remaking of the Modern World (Daniel Yergin)
in a café, current local favourites:
Vai Bistro, Kaffeewerk, Kaffeehaus, Quartier, and actually a few more. Lübeck is a city filled with wonderful cafés.
- Look at people:
Best done while sitting in a café.
- Go to my strandkorb:Weather hasn't been so good this year to do this. Hopefully, things will change soon!
- Go for a long walk
- Work on the computer:
Except I have been doing too much of this over the last months.
- Listen to podcasts, current favourites:
Cortex, Hello Internet, Long Form, On Being, Invisibilia, La nature selon Boucar, Dharmaseed, Soundscapes with Stephen McCauley, Still Untitled, Writers and Company
As written last week, this has been a wirlwind time for travel, next I am off to sail with friends in the southern Danish islands.
to see a movie:
No time for that!
at a restaurant:
Montreal, Amsterdam, and Addis were amazing places to wine and dine in.
10 July, 2016
the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone when they are suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.
DEFINITION of 'Culture Shock'
A feeling of uncertainty, confusion or anxiety that people experience when visiting, doing business in or living in a society that is different from their own. Culture shock can arise from a person's unfamiliarity with local customs, language and acceptable behavior, since norms can vary significantly across cultures.
Recently I did an amazing amount of travelling in (for me) a very short period of time. In seven weeks, I traveled to Amsterdam, Montreal (also Ste. Lucie and Warkworth), Addis Ababa, and Bielefeld and Kiel in Germany. The trips to Amsterdam and Montreal were working holidays. The trips to Addis, Bielefeld, and Kiel were work.
My travels took me from the idyllic surroundings of Ste. Lucie in the Laurentiens mountains north of Montreal. A week spent in nature. A week when I could mix working on my laptop with the pleasure of kayaking every day with the loons swimming right next to me; sitting still and listening to a symphony of frogs. A place where there was no human-made sounds to be heard.
And then in contrast, Addis Ababa… a city steeped in noise and busy-ness and chaos, like I have never experienced before. Admittedly, in the last 20 years or so, I have been mostly travelling in Europe and North America and the Caribbean. Working in Addis allowed me to meet some wonderful people and a new culture that was intensely interesting. (The first visit of many, hopefully.)
Amsterdam was visiting old friends in my most favourite city in the world. Warkworth was meeting new friends in, what seemed to me, a beautiful small town (village) setting from the past.
Even though all the trips went well and I had a fun time, I did experience what I can only describe as culture shock of sorts each time. I say culture shock of sorts because what I experienced was very different to that described in dictionaries. Mine appears on a physiological and sensory level.
My brain goes on overload trying to process the signals my senses are sending it. What is it that I am tasting, smelling, hearing, seeing and feeling (e.g. feeling cold the whole time in Addis because I didn’t bring enough warm clothing). There were numerous times when I questioned my old brain's ability to sort out all this information. Is this a problem a part of growing old?
In younger years, I seemed to be blissfully oblivious to this challenge. Now the first hours, days, or week spent in a new place is not just “getting over” jetlag or a general feeling of disorientation, but recognizing if and when my brain just doesn’t know how to process the information flow.
Why this is, is something I am going to meditate on these next few weeks. Thankfully, I can do this from the luxury and familiarity of my home.
27 May, 2016
19 May, 2016
Ethically and practically we are at the moment in dark times.
I am trying to figure out a way to create an artistic project which brings stories forward about the experiences of the refugees and immigrants I know. Hearing their stories and befriending them has changed my heart greatly.
15 May, 2016
11 May, 2016
Spring arrived last night. The East winds burst through the countryside and shook the budding leaves out of branches. The lilac hedges add bright contrast to the raps fields. I sit in "my" train speeding through the most magnificent landscape and blue skyscape joyously thinking about dinner tonight with dear friends in Amsterdam.