Vocalizing

Vocalizing

On Monday, my son started what is called “halte garderie”, which is a place where kids can go for up to 4 half days between the age of 15 months (or when they know how to walk well) and when they start Ecole Maternelle (which is like nursery school/kindergarten, but very much like school). This week was an adaptation week. Every day he went for a little bit longer, half an hour with me the 1st day and then 1 hour alone, 2 hours alone, with lunch and finally with lunch and the nap (ok no nap for the little man). I should add that we opted for 2 full days so that I can work a bit more during the week.

Over the past few days, we have been observing an astounding change. Our 18 month old is vocalizing so much more than ever before. Within 5 days the “mamamamama, blablabla, bebebebe” as well as other sounds have been constant background noise.

With an older sister around and parents that are now used to reading signs, there is no real pressure to talk. Everything can be communicated through pointing and saying “mehmehmeh”. It seems as though being around other kids, with whom it is a bit more difficult to communicate, adds some pressure to speech development.

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where to start?

I don’t know what to write today. That’s why this post is going up on a Sunday and not a few days ago. Actually, it is not that I don’t know what to write, it is that I have no idea where to start… Should I be writing a story, a little bit about my life at the moment, about how you can eat well and not ruin yourself financially, about not being a materialist, about motherhood and childrearing… the list of ideas is endless.

Maybe I shall write every idea on a piece of paper and then put them in a hat and pick one when I write?

My 30 to 31 challenge is all about getting myself back to writing. I have taken a few breaks from my blog and from the community that comes with it.
And now, I find myself dragging my feet as if I had to jump head first into troubled ice cold water, while not being able to swim.

Does it matter if no one reads my post? It should not!

Is it a big problem if I don’t engage with everyone who comments? Personally, I don’t feel bad if my comments on other blogs or Instagram posts aren’t answered. It is nice to receive a reply, a return visit, a new follower when we comment elsewhere, but I know we all have (or should have) lives outside of our social media.

Personally, I tried to reply always to comments, visit back when I can, BUT this has in the past lead to blogging exhaustion (thus the many breaks). Which is not fun. You end up being scared of your blog as if you were contractually obliged to engage 24/7. But after a certain time, I start missing writing, the feedback, the community and I come back to it, promising myself that this time I won’t over-engage.

So, what now? I want blogging to be fun again, not to be a chore.

Biology Class

“Today, we are going to dissect mice.” Miss Grand announced to the class.

A murmur of horror and excitement erupted in the classroom.

In the back row, three hands shot up.

“Yes?”

“Miss” all three started their questions at the same time.

“One at a time!”

“Miss,” Linda asked, “do we have to? Mice are disgusting! There was once one in my gran’s kitchen, what a relief when the exterminator came.”

With a look of horror, Tina looked at her friend, “an exterminator, oh no the poor thing!”

“Tina, you can talk about this with Lida after the class, now, what was your question?”

With a very worried look, Tina started: “Erm, do I have to? I mean mice are so cute and I’ll be feeling sorry for it during the whole class.”

“Yes you have to, no one gets to sit out this important lesson, not even if you are a vegan, and no one here is of a religion that strongly forbids you to dissect dead mice.” Miss Grand added.

“Really?” Tina pressed on, “I risk crying and how will I be greeted by Mr Snuggles when I come home from school?”

“You can always tell him you are looking into becoming a vet”.

“True!” Tina looked at her hands and bit her lips.

“And Miranda, if you want to miss out on this one, sorry it won’t work!”

Moments later the three girls were looking at their trays.

“Poor thing,” Tina said giving the dead mouse a little stroke with her index “its fur is so soft! I hope that it was very old or already sick.”

“I hope not!” Exclamined Miranda while toying with the almost naked tail, ” I really want to feed it to Snowball after the lesson, he’ll be chuffed! You know I helped him catch his first mouse when he was still a baby.”

“Oh, you two are disgusting!” that was Linda, poking her scalpel at the dead rodent. “I just hope that it wasn’t sick, I don’t want to catch any diseases.”


This post is part of my 30 to 31 challenge. Between my 30th birthday and my 31st, I will try, and give my best to write one post (from the cuff) per week (if I must this will be done on my phone).

If you feel like joining the fun for your 23 to 24 challenge or 51 to 52 or whatever your age is… then go ahead, and if you link back to my post of the week and I’ll do my best to give you a shout out. 


© Solveig Werner 2018. All rights reserved. 

A Fresh Start

So, I turned 30 on Monday (20th of August). I have come to the end of a very important decade of my life.

4 out of my 5 years of higher education happened during this time, I have been together with S. for almost 9 years, I started to work, I gave birth to two lovely kids who are now 4 and a half and almost 18 months old, I lost my mother to cancer. This seems like quite an important decade to me.

Now, I am not going to cry about my lost youth. Guess what? On my birthday I felt as if I was 24 again, just with a lot fewer worries. Why 24 you might ask? Well, it was the last birthday before pregnancies/kids. When I turned 25 I was going through horrible morning sickness… And all my birthdays since spent with kids. On Monday, my dad agreed to babysit and S. went on a lunch date that stretched quite a bit into the afternoon.

Instead of crying about my youth, I see this as an opportunity, I have a fresh new decade in front of me. Lately, I have been thinking about a lot about my future. I don’t see myself teaching German forever (it is lucrative and is working better than ever, my experience, age, education etc must be responsible for some of that), but I am a child of my generation (I am a “millennial”) and feel the urge to do something different, to do something new. I catch myself thinking about what to do now, but I am certain we never actually ask ourselves the right questions, those come from outside of our closest circles.

When I applied for a job earlier this year, I realised that I am now ready for something new, that I am grown up and mature. Just what will I be doing in the future? I don’t know, and I suppose that I will find out in the future. There is just one thing I know, I want to will write more, maybe a book and I will properly revive my blog!

Thank you for reading 😍😘

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This post is part of my 30 to 31 challenge. Between my 30th birthday and my 31st, I will try, and give my best to write one post (from the cuff) per week (if I must this will be done on my phone).

If you feel like joining the fun for your 23 to 24 challenge or 51 to 52 or whatever your age is… then go ahead, and if you link back to my post of the week and I’ll do my best to give you a shout out. 


© Solveig Werner 2018. All rights reserved. 

Počitelj

IMG_1330.jpgIf it hadn’t been for the minaret in the middle of the village, it could have been a Bastide in southern France. But it wasn’t. Počitelj is a village in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

After a trip to Mostar, we were at first hesitant if we should set out again to discover another place reflecting the multi-culturalism of the Balkans. An early breakfast left us with a large enough time window before the pre-wedding lunch later that day.

“It’s here somewhere”, I said taking my eyes off the very vague map on my phone.

My eyes fell onto an impressive tower. “Yes, that must be it.”  Continue reading “Počitelj”

When LinkedIn fails you

LinkedIn has the tendency to send me job opportunities. It can be quite annoying, especially as most jobs don’t correspond to my profile or interests. Being an underpaid “happiness officer” for a French dating-app never really appealed to me. Still, I never turned off the notifications, as one never knows if something interesting might come up. 

This morning, when I checked my emails, my dear friend LinkedIn had once again sent me a list of jobs that might interest me. And to my surprise, there actually was a position that was ready to spend my day perfecting my profile and reformulating my CV for. It was the job I had dreamt of doing when I was a teen and that influenced my decisions regarding my studies and activities during and after high school. Working as a Political and Economic Reporter based in Paris, what could be more fitting for me? I studied Politics (with a year of Politics and Economics and two papers research about the Euro Zone) for exactly that job.

Observing my own reaction, I realized that this still is my holy grail of a job. Being a correspondent for a serious publication (The Wall Street Journal isn’t too bad, is it?). So, imagine my shock when I saw:

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“This job is no longer accepting applications”.

So, why did I receive this job in the first place? I was asleep at the time the email was sent out, I am not desperate for a job (my business is quite successful thus I am rarely blogging) to the point of checking my email for LinkedIn job suggestions at 23:00…

Of course, accepting such a job would have implications for my family life (it’s all a question of organisation). I am about to be 30 and now is the best moment to start a real career, and the best would be to do so in a field and a specialisation that has been on the radar for 15+ years. I guess I should now find a way to get in touch anyways, if not I might have regrets in the future…

Now or never

If I don’t write now, I might never have the courage to do so again.

I know that that is not true. But I haven’t published a blog post since the last contribution to the advent calendar went up.

That’s not good.

But I am not here to berate my absence of writing, or to provide my lovely readers with explanations (work, kids, family, writer’s block, no energy, feeling obliged to reply to comments and visit blogs when there is not enough time to do so… the list is long).

Today, I am here to write. My whole family is sleeping, if I am not mistaken everything that had to be done is done (writing those words the 5 copies of an exam I have to grade shoot to my head, oh no! Grading papers is not a fun thing (it can be when it is creative writing), especially when you have no idea what the student wrote about…

So, I have so many stories that want to ooze onto the pages. I have my life to share… Travels to tell you about, amazing places to visit, a new series in my head and so on. But for so long I had something blocking my path.

And writing is self-care for me! It’s more than a hobby, it’s a lifeline it’s where I am at home. It’s how I want to pay the rent!

Now enough of my ramblings. Now that’s off my heart and I shall hopefully jump right back into blogging where I left off shortly after my mother’s death…

Bye for now, but I will be back. And if you really miss me, you can always follow me on Instagram (even if you don’t miss me, follow me…)

He Quit Before Christmas by Holly Geely – Day 24 Advent 2017, 4th Sunday of Advent

He Quit Before Christmas by Holly Geely

Day 24 Advent 2017, 4th Sunday of Advent

“Your contract requires two weeks’ notice. You can’t leave tonight,” Santa said.

“I can, and I will,” Donner said.

“It’s Christmas Eve. We need you here.”

“My flight is booked.”

“We don’t have an airport.”

“Yeah, I booked myself. I’m done with this job. I’m done with you.”

“How can you say that?”

“As if you don’t know! I’ve stayed through some rotten curveballs. You promoted Rudolph over me, even though I have the most seniority. Fine, I can handle that. You cut out Christmas bonuses so you could afford to install that hot tub. The others complained, but I never said a word. I literally worked my tail off for you – my butt’s never going to look the same – and you’ve never once thanked me.”

“Donner – ”

“You’ve changed my name from Dunder to Donner and back again so many times I can’t even keep track. You consistently eat all the carrots the kids put out for me. Everyone else gets their carrots, but you come out of those houses and you go, oh sorry donner there’s only eight carrots. Guess there’s none for you!”

“I never…”

“I’ve had enough.”

“Where will you go? You’re a talking and flying reindeer. You don’t blend in.”

“That’s another thing I hate about working for you. You’re so tactless.”

“Think of the sad little children with no gifts on Christmas day.”

“You used an eight-deer team before Rudolph came along. You can do it again.”

“It won’t be the same without you, Donner. Is there some way I can convince you to stay?”

“Nothing comes to mind.”

“Money? A promotion? I’ll do anything, Donner.”

“Anything?”

“Anything.”

 

“And that’s why I’m hitched to the sleigh and Donner’s inside delivering your presents,” Santa said.

“Wow,” said little Billy. He had climbed onto the roof when he heard a loud thump. At six, he was familiar with the poem, and had expected a clatter.

“Now run along back to your room, son, before your parents find you up here and sue me for child endangerment,” Santa said.

“Okay.”

“And tell Donner this has gone on long enough. He’s being ridiculous.”

“You deserve it,” said little Billy. He tossed a snowball at Santa’s head and retreated back to his room.

The reindeer laughed.

 

“Well, what do you know? There were only eight carrots. I guess there were no carrots for you,” Donner said.

“We’ve been to eighty thousand homes. Is that ever going to get old?” Santa said.

“Nope,” Donner said.

 

And they heard him exclaim ere he drove out of sight,

“Your employees hold grudges, so you’d best treat ‘em right!”


This is Holly’s second post in this year’s advent calendar, find her poem “Midwinter” here.

Holly Geely likes Christmas so much she dedicated her right arm to it (in the form of a tattoo). You can find her ramblings, short stories, and links to other works at hollygeely.com.

Christmas Hassles -Day 23 Advent 2017

Christmas Hassles

Day 23 Advent 2017

It happens that we don’t open our advent Calendars on the right day, that we are a day late or so. I am sure that even the most devoted of readers of this year’s calendar are sometimes a day late in reading. Who am I to blame you? It’s the advent season and we all have so many things to do. As things happened I had no participant for a few days, one of them being the 20th. Unexpectedly, I spend my day moving about, picking up Christmas presents from the printers and when I wanted to go home, I found out that two days before I had not picked up all of the exams that I have to mark… so I went to pick those up and had to hurry home to arrive there after my student) he was 15 minutes early). All in all it lead to no post on my sister’s birthday. Did you notice the lack of a post?The Christmas preparations always come with a few hassles. Planning out the festivities, buying a tree on time, making sure that all presents are in order, mail is sent out… can make an already busy life a little more stressful. Oftentimes someone in the family will come down with a crippling flu or other unpleasant things (especially when children are involved). How comforting can a cup of got chocolate be? Finding some calm with Christmas music, Christmas cookies and some warming candle light.

Christmas… as an Agnostic by Melanie Noell Bernard – Day 22 Advent 2017

Christmas… as an Agnostic by Melanie Noell Bernard

Day 22 Advent 2017

 

Like many children, I was raised in my parents’ religion. For me, this meant going to a Presbyterian church once a week on Sunday (or trying. Sometimes life is a little busy.) But I was expected to get up earlier than I wanted, put on nice clothes to appear presentable, and head to church with my parents and older brother. However, my Christian-upbringing was a bit unorthodox.

I have never read the bible. I stopped going to Sunday school as soon as my parents would let me just so I could sit quietly (and impatiently) in service with them. (I was that person drawing on the bulletin during service… Oops.) No one ever really explained the bible verses to me or that there were two testaments. I had no idea who the apostles were. I can’t recount the ten commandments. Despite having been in church my entire life, I had no idea what I was doing there.

Maybe that is the reason (or perhaps it’s my scientific nature striving for proof), but I never really believed. Not to say I didn’t try. Many nights I would pray before bed, asking for a sign, and not getting one. Of course, that’s because you’re not supposed to base it on proof. You are supposed to believe in God without proof and live your life as a good person based on your faith. Unfortunately, the older I became, the more I realized I didn’t actually believe and no matter how much I tried and how much I prayed, believing is harder than you think. As such, over this past year, I finally told my family… I am Agnostic.

To be quite honest, this was probably one of the most difficult things I have ever told my family. Why? I’m not sure. I was finally being true to who I am, but I think there was this worry of disappointing my family if I admit to not believing what they believe. There was this fear of separation or disapproval from them. Funny thing is, none of them even flinched. I had gotten all worked up, spent nearly two years hiding it, only for it to not be a big deal. And life goes on, but to say nothing has changed would be a lie. Things have changed, namely around Christian holidays like Christmas.

Christmas was always the time of year when everyone is preparing and busy and decorating. My family had plenty of traditions for the season. We promptly got our tree the day after (American) Thanksgiving (the first day the tree farm opened). After cutting it down, sipping on hot cocoa and petting reindeer, we would spend the rest of the day decorating the tree and playing Christmas music. My dad would hang lights outside and make a fake tree out of lights on a table that looked really cool at night. My mom would move all the ornaments I hung on the tree to another location and my brother would help her. (I’m not really the artsy one in the family. Hee hee!) We would spend the rest of the month buying and wrapping presents and planning Christmas dinner with a ham and potatoes and all the other yummy goodies. Then came time for Church on Christmas Eve.

This was one of two times a year when everyone (even the non-Church goers) would show up to the one of three services offered on Christmas Eve and listen to the story of Jesus’ birth and sing songs. The only lights during the last song, Silent Night, were candles being held by each of the church-goers filling the pews. I always remember the wax dripping down onto my fingers despite the little white paper that’s supposed to catch it, trying not to wince and keep singing as beautifully as I could (though I’m not really that great. Hahaha!), praying someone (or myself) would NOT light my hair on fire. Then, the song ends, everyone blows out their candles and files silently out of the church just after midnight to head home and go to sleep and wait for Santa to deliver presents. However, this isn’t the way it happens anymore.

Despite being back in my hometown near my parents, I don’t go to church. My brother lives in another state. My parents are divorced. I am Agnostic, and this last piece is the most drastic change of all.

Even as my mother still goes to church and has invited me to go to Christmas Eve service and join her and her church for dinner (aka lunch) on Christmas Day, I’m not sure I should go. I haven’t even put up Christmas decorations this year (nor last year) and anything related to the Christmas season feels… off. I feel like a poser for trying because it’s technically not my religion anymore. That’s not to say I don’t want to spend time with my family, or eat good food, or just bask in the joy and splendor of the holidays, but… I’m just not sure I belong.

What’s more, I’m worried about going to a Christmas service or dinner and having people presume I’m religious or presume I know things about the bible and practice the faith or ask me when I’m coming back to church. I don’t want to partake in something when I don’t fully believe in the very basis of what they are celebrating.

Were it just my family, waking up around a well-lit, gorgeously decorated tree with some snow on the ground and a warm, crackling fire to enjoy, I wouldn’t have a problem. There are no religious obligations behind a nice decoration or enjoying the company of one’s family, but going to church when I have finally been honest with myself about not being part of the church, feels like I am being dishonest to the people who are religious and who do go to church, but mostly it feels like I am being dishonest with myself. I spent too much of my life being afraid of admitting my religious beliefs. I should not have to explain them to anyone and I do not want to pretend again, even for one more day, that I still believe in the Christian God.

 


Melanie Noell Bernard is a graduate student who explores the blueprint for life: genes. Her scientific background is the inspiration for many of her stories. When she’s not honing her writing craft or researching in the lab, she’s reviewing books and hosting literary discussions on her blog, MNBernard Books.

Twitter: @NoellBernard
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/melanienoellbernard/
Blog: https://mnbernardbooks.wordpress.com