Monthly Archives: June 2017

What was your favorite creative activity as a child?

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When i read an article in the “Mindful” magazine*, the question “What was your favorite creative activity as a child?” drew my attention. Most frequent answers to this questions were:

“Making clothes for my doll from scraps of fabric.

I loved rummaging for scraps and still do!”

“When I was supposed to nap, I would jump on the bed and make ridges and valleys in my quilt. Then I would sit quietly and imagine towns and people living between the ‘mountains.’ (I’m from Colorado.)”

“Needlework and cooking with my grandmother.”

“Daydreaming.”

“Making a ‘radio show’ with a tape recorder and my siblings.”

“Putting on plays.”

“Puzzles.”

“Designing houses.”

“Melting crayons,building bricks with the melted wax, and building cities with the wax bricks.”

Nr 4 flashed childhood memories of my grandmother. Happy memories. Warm memories. My hand and her hand mixing the dough. Clothes covered by white flour. The floor covered by flour. The trail to the stone oven she built herself in the courtyard. The smell of freshly baked bread she divided between me and my cousins with her strong and beautiful hands. Her smile as she watched us eat. Her mindful presence and the safe world it opened.

In the quest of creativity, the mind tends to get sophisticated. Yet:

*The article appeared in the June 2017 issue of Mindful magazine.
 

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Postcards

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– Did you send postcards from Tartu?

– ?

Our digital world brains tried to locate the concept in the memory. It was at a working dinner with fifty something judges. 50 is a number for their age. 

They were restless:

– you never send postcards from your trips?! I always do. To mom, dad, each of my four kids. Tomorrow you’ll do it as well. 

Our fingers were looking for the nearest post office on the phone screen. 

Next morning we are at these wonderful Estonian judges court. One of them holds poscards. You know – the rectangular piece of thick paper. They make us sit and writte down words on paper. You do not disobey a judge in his court.  One of us: ‘”it’s the first time i do it”.  My brain is not ready to tell me when was it the last time i did it. 

– can i take a pic of the postcard and send it electronically? i ask playfully.  

When was the last time you sent a postcard to your loved ones? Re-live it or do it. It feels good on the giving end.

 It feels good at the receiving end. 

A week after that dinner, my kid greets me in the evening with: “look what the postman gave me!”  🙂

“Baltazar and Blimunda” by Jose Saramago

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My “To read all authors on the Nobel Prize for Literature list” brought me to 18th century Portugal. Jose Saramago was awarded the Nobel Prize for literarure in 1998. 

“Every man follows his own path in search of grace, whatever that grace might be” is the central idea of his “Baltazar and Blimunda” book. The book narrates in details the times of King Dom Joaa and of Padre Bartolomeu Lourenco de Gusmao, a historic figure and a pioneer of aviation. It is the story of “one handed solder who ironically became a manufacturer of wings”. Phrases like this had me spellbound from the first page. 

I was mesmerised by the central feminine character – not the queen, but an extraordinary ordinary women – Blimunda. Her mother was burn for witchcraft and she had a special gift of seeing what others do not see and the ability to collect the wills of dying. When the “wings” – the flying machine they built together with Padre Bartolomeu – took him away from her into the unknown she keeps looking for him, to find him in Lisbon, after nine years of continuous search throughout the entire country, in a procession leading to a fire burned by the inquisition. 

The book demands patience. It took me months of reiterated reading and putting it down. The “search of grace”, as we know it, is a painful process. Or at least humans are skilful at making it painful. Due to this and very long phrases, it is a challenging reading. It was the first time i read a book written in this style, and it was worth it every single page. 

Roses

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Orangerie Park in Strasbourg is home to many wonderful plants and flowers. Its greenhouses supply flowers for the entire city of Strasbourg. My kid told me about it. Her class had a day trip at Orangerie, organised by her wonderful teacher. 

The roses round is one of my favourite places in Orangerie. It’s a meditation spot with generous colours, perfumes and tactile experiences. The roses petals velvety touch is a wonderful feeling for fingers otherwise in contact with key boards and touch-screens. 

You can hear roses play. Why else would they give them names of composers: Chopin or Tchaikovski. You get to walk among royalty: Sissi, Josephine, Prince de Monaco, Princess of Walles and laugh with Louis de Funes. Enjoy them all!

Thank you Tartu

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UNESCO city of literature, second biggest town in Estonia, the city of 100000 students, “city of good folks” for:

the most wonderful hosts at the Supreme Court of Estonia and Tartu county court who opened their doors and hearts for us,

the fantastic hospitality and very informative city tour by Christina  to splendit places in Tartu:

– Tartu University which has the pics of all its professors greeting students and visitors and where the rehearsal of the “Gaudeamus Igitur” was underway right when we entered the building,

– St John Cathedral with its unique statutes which survived the bombings,

– Toy Museum and its reminder “Tempus est ludendi”,


– St Antonius courtyard where good music is played

– Architecture which accomodates harmoneously many styles, including soviet signs,

– the leaning building of the Art Museum, which makes the Pisa Tower look straight by comparision

a fun and very enjoyable Babel type dinner – Estonian, Georgian, Russian, German, English spoken by all and at the same time – with exquisite cuisine by the chef at Holm restaurant. The great food and wine revealed Estonians talent of toasting to match the  Georgians talent at toasting,

splendid surrounding fields,

your lively early morning flowers market,

the humour of street artists,

for yet another reminder not to take my self too seriously – in Estonia even the Chief Justice gets a caricature when sworn in office.

Thank you Tbilisi for

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a rejuvenating late night rain with proper thunder and lighting. I missed that Southern weather attitude,

something i did not miss, but i accept it: the earth tremor and the ‘ah-ha’ moment it brought,

the smile of the most beautiful lady baker as her gorgeous hands work the dough. She reminded me of my grandmother,

my perfect morning espresso at Entree served by the lovliest barista,

my first cigar. No need to worry. It was the traditional bakery with nuts,

my first peach this year,

eternal wisdom by modern days Gia, served with the traditional candy: “embrace the spoils of civilisation but do not forget your roots and why you are here, on earth”, 

the “meeting” with founding fathers, watchful over today’s parlamentarians presided over by a chairwomen. I can hear the founding mothers, who remained in the shadow back then, cheering up in the sky now (do not ask me how i know),

most devoted and hard-working projects partners, 

seeing my good colleague Nino back to work and recovering well,

stellar team members, who work hard and also know the value of fun at work,

the guard who kept my ipad, which i forgot by the window on the hall of the Parliament, 

teaching me what “არა” means. There were quite a number of “no” heard that day in the parliament,

the colors street flowers vendors bring,

an introduction to Georgian Zaza Svanidze shoes – amazing design combined with the quality feet deserve. Check his website or fbook page, 

lovely lunch at Amo Rame,

a history lecture by the most talkative taxi driver who used to work with Red Cross all over the world. The lecture was a “bonus” for having made him wait for me under a no-parking sign 🙂

kindest MGK hotel owners who made me feel at home, with traditional breakfast to my taste and a room with a view i’ll be looking for upon my return

and many more blessings, to be continued.