Two Dutch Girls on a Road Trip to Wiltshire

Road Trip 2017 (2) - Richmond to Chawton to Salisbury.

Good afternoon! Would you like to join me for the second part of my road trip in the South-West of England? A long time wish of my daughter...

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The 11th "Ity" : Humility. #5 Things that make me feel Humble.

Good evening, my friends. Time for the Swami again.
How are you? I'm tired, but fine. And before I take myself off to my bed I'd thought to tell you about my personal take on humility.
Humility is the quality of not thinking that you are better than other people.

1. Nature.

If there's one thing that makes me feel humble, it is the force of nature. Ever since I witnessed a lightning strike in my back garden which plunged the entire street into darkness, blew a hole in the roof and melted my fusebox, I am in awe of thunder&lightning. And living 4 m. below sea level also makes a person aware of what water can do. I'd say this is humbling...

2. This last year at work.

Having been a popular teacher at one school, and then losing this job through cutbacks and having to start afresh at a totally different inner-city school with totally different (often deprived) youngsters, has been one of the most humbling experiences of my life. But I am happy to say I can hum along with Elton John: "I'm Still Standing".

3. My next-door neighbour.

He was already living there when we moved in, in 1994. He's had polio as a child, I believe. He was still able to cycle on a normal bicycle in 1994. Since then, we have seen his movements steadily deteriorate. Normal bike, three-wheel bike, motor wheelchair. He lives on a small state allowance and does janitor work at a primary school, which means he takes the 6 o'clock bus every day. What humbles me is that he never complains. And he is always cheerful!

4. An example of Greek hospitality.

When I was 22, I travelled around Greece by train. It was high summer, and blazingly hot. I took care to always have a liter bottle of water with me, but at some stage on the way to Kalamata my water ran out and there was no opportunity to buy new. That evening my friend and me wearily and thirstily walked along a dirt road on the way to a campsite, when we passed a hovel. No other word for it. Outside this falling down house there was a pump, and at the pump a very old woman was washing herself. We ogled the water, and she noticed this, and waved at us (this Greek wave is funny, for it appears that they are shooing you away, when they actually wave you to approach). So we walked to her, and with sign language asked permission to fill our bottle. Before we knew it we were dragged into her kitchen, where she sat us down and shared her evening meal with us. And then sent us on our way with a sack full of lemons, cucumbers and figs. I fell in love with Greece there and then, and have returned to this country many times since.

5. Pain.

Pain is the great equaliser. When I was pregnant with my son, 22 years ago, I had necrosis in my womb, and it was stunningly painful. I spent 7 months in hospital and only barely made it out alive.
I felt very, very humble there, especially at night when everyone else was asleep and I was at the mercy of the night nurses (who were very kind, most of them!).

Humility, in my eyes, is one of THE best and important qualities to have as a human being.
I do so hate a braggart.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Music; I Cannot do Without! Can you? (Music by Jodymoon and Paolo Nutini)

Hi. I've told you more than once that I am a committed music lover, right?
Music certainly makes MY world go around. 
It is the score to my life, be it for good or worse, and I can hear a song and will be transported back to a particular moment in my life instantly. Or the other way around: a memory will immediately make me think of a particular song. And a certain piece of music will evoke moods and longings. The link below is a very good example.

It's the prettiest thing - by Jodymoon

So it will not come as a surprise to you that I love to sing myself. I sing all the time (much to the amusement and sometimes chagrin of my work colleagues, who get a continuous stream of song from me whilst I'm checking my email and grading my test papers. Well, I do try to keep it down, honestly I do!)

A very long time ago I worked as a nurse in an old people's hospital, looking after Alzheimer patients, and there was this ancient lady who was so far gone that she had lost the ability to speak, or eat (she was fed by a tube through her nose). She had long, thin white hair, and she would calm down and stop fidgeting with her hands when I brushed it. 

And sometimes this miracle would happen: she would start to sing. She sang hymns. The other Alzheimer patients would hush, and it always brought tears to my eyes.
It has always amazed me, right to this day, that a person who couldn't speak any longer, could still sing. When I think of this lady, I think of the song Amazing Grace. I wished her to be free of the burden which her life had become to her, I suppose. 

After this introspective stuff, the above is to make you smile. It makes my heart sing. Not only is it great fun, but Mr Nutini is scrumptious to watch.
Let me know what music you enjoy?