As the daughter and granddaughter of war survivors, I reflect on war, its wake of post-traumatic rituals and indelible scars on the psyche, as a new war unfolds. Another war stubbornly heedless of the past.
If 2020 was the first year we could remember, would we think of it as a “normal” year? If we had no comparison, would we use it as a template for all subsequent years? In this way, I can’t write about 2020 without context—as chaotic, as challenging, as unprecedented this year currently is and has…Read more 2020
“Have you ever been told to “go home”?” Somewhere in the swirling dust clouds of reaction storms to publicity pining populist power plays, this question appeared. It was recently posted on Instagram with a seemingly empathetic request to "respond with your own personal story in the comments section". This isn’t just any question. It’s a…Read more Have you ever been told to “go home”?
My blog is in indefinite hibernation until I finish my book. Remember my goal of completing it by the end of January next year? That actually still seems possible! It’s June and I have a compelling outline and some nicely written passages (well, I think they are for now). But it hasn’t been, isn’t, won’t…Read more Perspectives on a Dream
I’ve lived in this Berlin neighbourhood for seven years. That’s the longest I’ve ever stayed in one place. I buy my groceries from grocers who chat with me, flowers from a florist whose children go to the same school as mine, receive parcels from delivery men who know me by sight. Not everyone knows how…Read more The Tree Planters
“I want to drive into the sunrise.” Years ago, when I was living in Seattle, commuting every day to a comfortable desk job in the eastside, I used to mutter this half-jokingly to my carpool companion. This must have seemed to her not just wistful and slightly pathetic but incredibly dramatic, as we were usually…Read more Home in the Ether
I spent most of last weekend in a kitchen heavenly fragrant with dried fruits, cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, nutmeg, brandy and red wine. That magnificent aroma of the holiday season wafting richly from mulled wine, glistening fruitcakes, sugar cookies and spicy gingerbread. I also brought out my largest pot to make a large batch of treats…Read more Bittersweet
Part of me will always be suspended in disbelief. Dangling where there is no ground, no up or down, nothing more substantial than a mysterious ether. But I am not afraid. I am grateful. I know there are plenty of reasons to be worried, sorrowful, pessimistic. Plenty of tragedy, injustice and hate embedded, looming and…Read more Thankful
“Why empathy?” Silence. “Why compassion?” Silence. “Why should we care about each other?” No one answered. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to answer, we simply struggled to find the best reasoning for it. Perhaps we had never asked ourselves these existential questions before. Perhaps we couldn’t find an answer that wasn’t trite, naïve, or saturated…Read more The Pendulum of Empathy
This autumn in northern Europe is unseasonably gentle and warm. The turning of the leaves from deep green to all the colors of flame and sunset, the baring of elegant dark, sloping branches, the abundant soft coverings on the ground, the scents of damp earth, fallen apples and acorns, crumbling organic growth. All these magnificent…Read more A Gentle Autumn