On a Saturday evening, as I was waiting for my friend, I noticed a jolly trio – a French grandmother with two boys. “Mamie, mamie!”, spinning around her with joy and a blissful ignorance of the world around them. She was their world. They were her world.
Their chatter was incessant, questions followed by affirmations, without any need for answers. They had the confidence of someone who is loved, cherished and treated on an equal footing. I knew why, the moment she kneeled down.
She appeared so well-grounded. Being well-grounded is the greatest gift a parent and grand-parent can make to a child. Something tells me these two boys will turn into well-grounded adults and one day they will kneel down to talk to their kids.
Kids only mirror and give what they receive.
When I was little, year 2000 seemed stellar years away. And now I say “Hello 2020!”
As I finish this year in my kitchen with crème patissière under my nails, I choose a moment of solitude to write down a few thanks to the passing year.
Thank you 2019,
for my new motherhood experiences. It is a 3D of past, present and future. Kids are unattainable teachers. We just have to open our hearts.
for a magic encounter with a new painter – Conny Famm from Sweden at his “Nordic Grace” exhibition. His “State of soul” is divine.
for my privileged and intimate friendships, which are untouched by distance. You know who are.
for my great professional relationships, which evolved into friendships. You know who you are.
for a new and growing sorority of spirits, regardless of our genders and age. We know who we are.
for many brilliant books I read this year.
for “Angel” by MyiaGi, my song of the year.
for a few small traditions I helped create, which continue to benefit those who need it most.
for my Grandmother’s traditions I sacredly follow on our special family occasions. It is my way to keep her in our hearts. Some of them fill our stomachs just fine, which she also loved doing for us, just like this cheese pie.
for the patience of my hubby when he fights his unspoken “You bought again so many!?, as he knows that I will support all forms of women’s entrepreneurship.
for new wisdoms I discovered and share with my daugthers. Here is a selection of my favourites:
- The story you tell yourself is by far more important than the story other people tell you.
- There is no truth in suffering.
- Patience is a virtue few have, and those who have it gain it all.
- What others say or do is about them. If you internalise it, you make it about you.
- There are two basic emotions: fear and faith. The choice is yours.
- Your behaviours demonstrate your values. Choose what you show to the world.
- Age does not register with those who are busy with good deeds.
- People who say that they will do it and then actually do it are rare. Be one of rare ones.
Thank you, 2019! Hello and welcome, 2020!
12 months of life in Provence told by an Englishman who relocated there with his wife and two dogs. They moved to slow down. Slowly they learned that “slow-down” has a meaning of its own in Provence. “Normalement” is a measure of time, making each deadline nothing but a dream. The Mayles learned it through endless repairs of the house and the maintaining of the farm.
The pace of the book is superb, as Mayle takes the reader through local traditions of hunting, goat races, wine and oil making, to neighbours interactions and most gourmet pauses outside the regular touristic circuits.
I live in France and after reading the book I realised how diverse the country is. Rural and urban mind-sets live on different timescales and values chains. Yet, with a great deal of sense of humour mixed with a bottle of good wine, one can make it alright, as Meyers show us. I now officially make the chapter on December my Christmas day reading. It is beyond funny and entertaining. “Appy Christmas” and “Bonne Annee!”
for showing me how different yet similar we are in living our values. We tend to use our differences to put a distance between ourselves. Sometimes, still, we learn to accept our differences as ways to complement and build each other.
In cultures where the value of big words overshadows their meaning, small gestures come to rescue to mean the world.
In places where the mind must absolutely know the exact number or budget, the storyteller will give meaning to both big and small numbers.
In cultures, which knew command and control, a creative mind will find a new way to give birth to chocolate molecules.
Preferences to do things behind the scene will meet the preacher of transparency with “just try it in the open, even if you fail, and you’ll see that it does not hurt”.
A disastrous service will end-up on a positive note, as it was met with kindness and acceptance of the fact that a waiter is also a human and who knows what she has to deal with outside her work.
Our knowledge of cultures will try to attribute the above behaviours to humans from certain countries and/or nationalities. Please do not do that. Attitudes and behaviours have no passports and do not stay confined within borders.
Next time you are in an environment your brain stereotypes about (which is normal, as the brain thinks in categories), just ask it to take a break and inhale the diversity in all its splendor. And if you absolutely must, call me naive. I do not mind.
“I am naive” Molecules Chocolate made in Lithuania, by Domantas Uzpali.
Bucharest, Catedrala Neamului/Nation’s Cathedral, seen from Marriott Hotel.
Riga, flags and church.
“I am naive” Molecules Chocolate made in Lithuania, by Domantas Uzpali.
I was on a 4 hour train ride.
– How are you, Madam? It’s ok, not too long?, asked the conductor, as we approached our destination.
– Thank you, it is just right. And how are you? You are the one working all these hours. I am only giving a massage to the seat 🙂
– Oh, thank you very much for asking, a big smile lighting up his face. I adore it. It’s the best job in the world! When all goes well.
– I wish you that it continues to stay well, in all its ways.
– Thank you very much, Madam. A pleasure to see you again on our trains.
A one minute dialogue with a thousand riches in it. People find meaning in serving others. People are opening up when asked with autheticity how was their day/duty trip/behind-the-cashier day. A grateful customer can give meaning to someone’s work. Be kind.
Coffee mug courtesy of Courtyard by Marriott – my kind of coffee fortune telling.
This week, Brené Brown shared with us “What Toni Morrison Taught Me About Parenting”. I warmly invite you to read it. There was a specific part, Brené quoted from a Toni Morrison’s interview, which drew my attention: “Let your face speak what’s in your heart. When they (kids) walk in the room my face says I’m glad to see them. It’s just as small as that, you see?”. These words resonated with me on many levels, as a kid, as well as a parent.
I was raised under the vigilant lenses of “not enough” of a soviet time. My school socks were not white enough, my hair was not well enough braided, my voice was not loud enough in pioneer marches … My parents got in the spirit of “not enough” and kept a faithful devotion to it at work and at home.
“Let your face speak what’s in your heart” reminded me of my grandmother. She was the only one who looked with wonder every time she saw me. Her face would light up, regardless. Mismatched socks or not. Braided hair or not. Scratched knees or not, dismissing with a smile my parents’ worry of “how would you look on the school play pic?!” Who cares 10-20-30 years later? Back then, pictures were black and white anyway.
When I became a mother, some family members would almost demand that the baby smiles at them. They probably thought babies come with a smile button on their back or that I have it on a remote control. My response was and is “she brings joy by her mere existence. She does not need to do anything special for anyone”.
I know that she knows that today, as well as she did when she was a baby. Because when I put shoes’ laces first, she does not hesitate to remind me of what’s important in parenting, with love.