Tag Archives: Alsace

Teleworking week 5: view from home

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As weeks add to the teleworking mode, when I am asked about how am I doing, I usually answer: “I am glad I am not a doctor or a nurse”. Me becoming a doctor was my mother’s dream who did not get into medical school at her time. These days, I am particularly grateful that I disobeyed her wish.

This post is not about me. It is about the millions of doctors, nurses, hospital workers and healers of all kinds of medicine. Those who leave their warm beds early mornings to get to white rooms filled with people who suffer. Those who hold hands of kids on a hospital beds and get to see their own kids only when they sleep. Those who do shifts after shifts and sleep wherever they can in quiet minutes. Those who come home after 32 hours in a hospital and do their household duties as if they have been on a city break. Those who keep their warm smiles for every patient, even if their inner world is in ruins. Those who fight the unknown and unseen as a fairytale immortal fighter. Those who cry, when they cannot see it anymore, and then wipe out their tears and keep doing the best they can.

And I am not even going into the supplies, equipment, infrastructure, miserable wages so many of them have to cope with in so many countries. If we cannot do their job, then we can at least honor their work by #stayinghome. That’s not too much to ask.

Monaco, photo by Monaco Info

Teleworking week 4: view from home – online safety

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The above is a humorous perspective. Yet, joke aside, we massively moved on-line, we must surf it ever more cautiously. Europol and law enforcement agencies warn us of cybersecurity threats and ill-intended minds.

Ever more, children’s exposure is to be watch with constant care for their well-being. Take a cybersecurity basic course and be equipped. Check permissions on your PC. Close the camera with a sticker. Talk gently to kids about it.

Teleworking week 3: view from home

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While teleworking, I discovered that routine is queen. Yet, I remember that it is a constitutional monarchy. Dancing and crying and hugging and feeling sad are not under her rule. I can do any or all of that, if I feel like. No permission from the queen-routine required.

At the first walk-around-the-block since this started: « Mom, I have an impression I am walking with a toddler…». I was beyond myself from the sun and air and river view. Never in my life the view of a swimming water rat excited me to levels I never knew. I promise, my child, I’ll grow swiftly back into your mom.

As we cannot go and greet the spring, the way we used to, we turn to art. Thank you Conny Famm for your “State of soul”.

My shopping patterns changed. I cancelled orders. That’s a first for me. Instead, I redirected the money to a local initiative of chefs cooking for hospitals’ staff in the region – Des repas pour les anges gardiens. And in my home country through Diaconia http://www.diaconia.md.

The fight for internal resources – the one and only laptop in the house – ended with a gentlemen agreement.

I “went” to a ballet performance. « LAC » by Jean-Christophe Maillot at Monte Carlo Opera, courtesy of Monaco plus.

I seriously upgraded my emoji use skills. From novice to intermediate. I am still very far from the emoji-master in my house. I’ve got something to aspire to.

We welcomed a new precious member into our family and thank him for reminding us of the gift of life. We wish him a happy and long life! And we promise to be more conscious of what we do to mother Earth and how we treat each other.

Teleworking week 2: view from home, part 1

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The closest pharmacy to my place is on the ground floor of my apartments bloc. The other day, as I was waiting outside for my turn to enter, a seniour citizen in his late 70s “approached” me:

– You are not wearing a mask…. Why?, he asked, a bandana in his hand.

– I do not need to. It serves those who are sneezing, coughing…, I answered summoning all my empathy.

– You know, he replied, I am terrified. I watch the TV and see all that….

– I have no TV for ten years now.

– You may be right, he said,…about the TV.

– Would you like to go inside the pharmacy? I can wait, I offered.

He gladly took my offer. I could hear their conversation. The pharmacist assumed he had hearing problems so he was yelling his answers. The gentleman was clearly scared. He did not buy anything. He needed human interaction and hypeless communication.

There is no right or wrong way to react to all around in these new circumstances. It’s one thing to watch a SF movie and another to be here and now. This is one of the reasons I never liked SF movies and apocalyptic views.

Back to the story of this gentleman. He is one of the millions, indoors, with a TV only as a company, probably, his loneliness brought at another level… . Psychologists already noticed it. Too many bad news and little information on recovery is dangerous for the human psyche. Psychologists around the world keep encouraging to try to look for positives and share them when you talk to others. It is demonstrated by research that a stressed mind diminishes the immune response.

Some countries and regions have installed services for people to call and talk to someone. Some of us are doing it at personal level – through baskets of solidarity or food ordered and delivered to those who need it. I see it in my country, enabled by charities joining forces with the business, like Diaconia and Kaufland.

Again, on a personal level one can read a book by skype/phone or start a virtual book club. Or put together a list of online entertainment: free opera streaming, concerts, movies, virtual museums visits etc. Little gestures which bring a human voice and touch to a lonely human heart … .

I loved Daniel Kaufmann’s article of this week “Caremongering – random acts of kindness” https://www-brookings-edu.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2020/03/19/caremongering-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-random-acts-of-kindness-and-online-enrichment/amp/

Here is to caremongering – random acts of kindness today and everyday.

Kids, nature and MPs

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An ordinary day in Strasbourg. Kids are on the river.

An ordinary day in the European Parliament. MPs are in their comfy chairs in the modern tower of Babel.

Let’s switch their places for a while: MPs – on the river and let the kids play in the tower.

As an MP, if you want to have the floor, you’d have to paddle to the chair, against  the wind, the waves, the rain into your face…

If you want to talk to a lobbyist, you’ll have to paddle to the bank (of the river)… .

For committees’ works, you’ll have to do it in the open. Whispering will not work, as the passing by boats can be noisy. And there is no air-conditioning to protect from the boats’ emissions…

Perhaps, this will make the MPs hear the voice of kids, when they demand care for the Earth, nature, the health and well-being of generations to come.

Merci Hoerdt

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Merci Hoerdt

for your Celebration of Asparagus

150 years ago a priest had the idea of celebrating the plant.

Since then, each year farmers open their farm gates to visitors in May in the Alsatian village of Hoerdt, north of Strasbourg.

Local cafes and restaurants offer all sorts of dishes inspired by asparagus. We tried asparagus velouté, quiche and salads at Cafe Creme, a family- run and family-welcoming business.

The celebration culminated with a procession headed by Miss and Mister Asparagus, the villagers elect the night before.

Hoerdt is a charming village to spend an afternoon, when touring Alsace and the region.

How Haut Koenigsbourg fortress lost it to Monkeys Mountain

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Not literally, of course.

1 May. Labour Day. France. Family trip plan to one of most famous fortresses in Alsace: Haut Koenigsbourg. Incited by 1 May invitations “all – to the fortresses” which invaded Facebook, I bought the train tickets Strasbourg-Selestat on-line the evening before. They are polite, the French railway: tickets for itineraries offered on line are guaranteed strike-free.

The next morning, Labour Day lesson 1: no buses or trams. They expect you to know that. Especially, after some years one lives in France. So, we do some “kilomètres de solidarité” to the railway station. Some celebrate the Labour Day. Some have to labour it.

The train is on time and we get to Selestat. Labour Day lesson 2: read the small script. The navette driver announces that of all castles only Haut Koenigsbourg is closed today, as he heard himself this morning on radio. I open the facebook event on Alsace castles, click couple of pop-up sites to finally get to the text in small letters: Haut Koenigsbourg is closed today. Merci beaucoup!

The driver’s entrepreneurial spirit comes to rescue. He tells us about La Montagne des Singes on the same itinerary and offers not to charge the kid for the trip.

20 minutes latter we are there, meeting the loveliest creatures. Sorry, Haut Koenigsbourg you lost it to monkeys this time. Without even a battle 😉

Time spent there was lovely: we fed them with pop corn distributed by the park’s employees

watched baby monkeys playing

witnessed a love story

and learned how to stay zen even when surrounded by hoards of curios visitors

Merci Mont Sainte Odile

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Merci Mont Sainte Odile

for the superb view over the Alsacian plain, colored by Autumn in all of its splendor, 

an unique artefact, a sundial built in the 18th century,

The 3 legendary limetrees – a favourite picture place for visitors, some taking time to meditate inside its trunk 

A walk in the forest dressed in Autumn colours


A travel in time to the taste of my grandmother’s bread

A moment of gratitude prayer 

An out-door lunch in great strangers company