Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Twelve months, a thousand thoughts but few words

There is simply no way that mere words could adequately capture all the fear and joy and tumult and change that 2014 held for our family.

So I won't even try.

One thing's for sure though; if there were any confusion that existed between dreams and reality, if there existed a gap between the two, for all the hoping and dreaming that sustained us in the early, scary months of 2014, for all the transformations required of us and our expectations, for all the tortuous moments when it seemed our dreams were lost...For all of that, none of the dreams could come anywhere close to the rich and beautiful reality.

This is what I will remember of 2014.

I'll share a few little images of our holiday season. And so all that remains is for me to thank you for being there with us and to wish you beautiful things in 2015. I wish for you the fulfilment of dreams, but if they cannot be fulfilled, let the reality be beautiful and the change and growth bring joy.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

In the midst of celebrating, stopping to grieve

Our home is bustling and busy as we celebrate Hanukkah and prepare for my mother's arrival tonight and for the celebration of Christmas; everything around us light and joy. I was going to come here to write a fluffy little post about our gift-giving and gratitude and excitement for the season, but never find the time.

And then, Girl Wonder at my breast and in a moment of maternal calm, I skim through the day's headlines and read about the events in Peshawar yesterday. 132 children left for school in the morning and didn't come home. It makes me feel sick to read on but I do, because at the very least, I feel the need to bear witness. When such events take place close to home we all stop and think and mourn, but when they take place far away (perhaps because we 'expect' them in such foreign and far away places?), we often stay silent, shake our heads sadly, but simply move on.

And that makes it all the more important for me that we bear witness. Because as vastly different as our lives and experiences and beliefs may be, and even the dimensions of our personal tragedy, there is some universal kernel in this loss. My heart breaks when I read the sad, beautiful words of one father who says 'My son was my dream. My dream has been killed', because a small part of me feels that too, and because I now know the gift of new dreams.

I am not really a pray-er, but such as they are, I offer my prayers nonetheless, that those parents, those families, those communities know some small comfort in the days ahead. First and foremost because I wish that for them, but also because (however naive it sounds) I want to raise my daughter not in a world where we shake our heads and then move on, but which recognizes that despite differences we all love and we all grieve. We all celebrate and mourn. Some human experiences are universal. Each life, no matter where it is lived or ends, is equally valuable.

I don't really know that this post has a 'point', other than to stop and acknowledge. In the midst of our celebrating this week I will take moments to mourn for the families of those 132 children. I will seek to honour those young lives. I will light a candle against the dark. It is nothing, but it is all I have.

Monday, 1 December 2014

#Microblog Mondays: Masterpieces

We arrived here just in time for the Long Night of the Museums, a city-wide cultural event in which with a single ticket you can visit dozens of museums and galleries which remain open until the wee hours on that particular night. This city is world renowned for its museums, one of the perks we hope Girl Wonder will benefit from in her upbringing here, and since our forays into gallery space have proven a surprising hit with her so far, we decided to give it a go. Besides, we were still twiddling our thumbs waiting out the arrival of all our worldly possessions in heaps of boxes, and the chaos that ensued for many days thereafter - so why not pass the time so pleasantly?

We chose to start out with a trip to the planetarium, hit the architectural jewel in the crown of the city's Art Nouveau, check out some surrealist and symbolist paintings in one of the galleries, and finally finish at the natural history museum's anthropological collections. The evening was a mixed bag for Girl Wonder: the planetarium was an unsurprising hit, with its sparkly, swirling projection of the universe keeping her immersed and quiet for a full 25 minutes; she kind of liked the works of Gustav Klimt - again, sparkly and shiny and larger than life - but then slept through a whole gallery of Miros as well as the paleolithic art at the Natural History Museum.

And as for me? I have to confess, as much as I enjoyed the artistic orgy, I couldn't keep my eyes off our own little Wonder and her reactions to so many new stimuli. It's a cliché containing an inherent truth that seeing things through her eyes, experiencing them with her for the first time is a whole new revelation, making this jaded traveller wide-eyed all over again.

The wonders of the cosmos, the evolution of humankind, the luminescent cannon of art history from the stone age until the last century could do nothing to distract from our own little masterpiece.

Written as part of Mel's Microblog Mondays. Check it out here to participate.