Friday, 20 April 2012

Television Boyfriend

This has been a big week for me. A reminder of who I am  and why I  feel the way I do: troubled, free, heartbroken, heart-filled, devastated, enriched, wretched, blessed, hopeful, hopeless, brave, insecure, alive, dead. Contradictory I know but that's who I am.
I am not going to dwell on this here though ( some things belong in our own private pockets). No, instead, I am going to celebrate the fact that I now have a boyfriend. Ha! Not a  real one  -  I have no room in my heart for that. But a television boyfriend - hooray. Someone I can turn on whenever I want (heh heh). Turn off sometimes ( unfortunately.) He's always waiting for me. He lets me take loo breaks and prosecco breaks and he never goes out. He even lets me read my stories out loud and doesn't try to change them. Hooray for television boyfriend.  Thank you Sergeant Brody! Major Winters! Detective Crews!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

wunder bag

I love it when random strangers compliment me on my handbags. Not just because they think my handbags are wunderbar (which, of course, they are) but because I know how hard it is for a Swiss person to engage with someone they don't know. I always give them a big thank you because I can see how super-brave they have been (overcoming their inherent reservation)  to say something that has sprung from the place in the heart specifically reserved for handbags.   
Tomato handbag tends to get the most compliments because of her fruity out-there-ness but I think Ark bag and Syrian bling bag and diamante cat bag and 4 foxes head bag and elegant Florentine bag all attract a fair serving of praise as well.
Even though I am a mere extension of the above handbags I like to take the compliment personally as well.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Sad muppet

Tonight my adorable , darling friend Vi (mother of Alf) decided a group of us should go to Paddy's the Irish pub. Her goal was to get drunk, dance and for me to meet nice men. Well, by 10 p.m. I was crying into my Aperol - classy! I think it is still  too early for me. I hope it does not become too late.

Monday, 9 April 2012


I have a story 'Ulla's Gift'  in this magazine.It's an all laydees issue. Go on - read it - you know you want to!!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

An amble near Grellingen

 Today I enjoyed Easter Sunday lunch with an old friend and her husband. We actually work together at the BIS ( Bank for International Settlements) about ten years ago.I know. Me in a bank - they were crazy days. Even crazier than that was the fact that my job was to provide IT support to the bankers and big wigs.Given I understand the word reboot to mean giving  your computer a good kicking I guess you can imagine how cutting edge I was as a tekkie. I remember once going down into the banking section because there was a printer problem. All I could do when I was got there was examine the thing and say in my most informed voice 'oh yes this is indeed a printer. Now let me find someone who can really help you!'Honestly it was the most difficult job of my life for the sheer reason that I didn't really know what I was doing and I hate not knowing what I am doing, Then again I did get offered the job by the big head of the IT department solely for 'having fire in my eyes' so the fault was not entirely mine.
Anyway today I went out to see my colleague  to reminisce about the old times and celebrate my escape. ( She is still very happily trapped). She lives in the most gorgeous rustic house perching on top of a hill overlooking r the most splendid scene of rolling green hills, mountains and fields. Honestly it was like a little piece of heaven and my time with her from beginning to end was just lovely. We went for a walk along a densely wooded path which ran alongside an ambling mossy stream. My fingers nearly froze off from the cold but the walk was stunning. Afterwards we ate  homemade bread, cheese and pumpkin soup. It really was good for the soul. Of course my natural response to such a day was to crawl in my bed back home and lay like a stone for a number of hours but it was so nice to pass a few hours amongst such beautiful things.

Saturday, 7 April 2012


 Alf has died. In peace. With his family. At home. I hate it when a pet goes but I always say a whispered grateful prayer when they have been lucky enough to go with love. When they aren't hit by a car, eaten by a snake, kidnapped...etc And Alf certainly had a lot of love both inside and outside of his family.

But he will be missed.....especially for

his cleanliness

 his respect for valuable Turkish carpets

His romantic devotion to cuddly toys
His ability to command a room
and his general god-like-ness

What a beautiful boy he was. I miss you already.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012


I need to change the way I teach. Actually what I really need to do is teach less and write more but then there is the whole bread'n butter conundrum which I haven't managed to solve yet.  So in the meantime (until I find a way for my words to feed my mouth full-time) I need to change the way I teach. Well not the teaching itself.  I am quite good at getting students to conjugate verbs. No.  What I need to do is change how I relate to my students. I relate too much. I share too much. I build bonds which are not complete friendships but nor are they strangers either. I believe that part of getting students to talk is to show interest in them. Not just treat them like numbers or bums-on-brown-seats. And I feel this deep in my heart - I  care about my classes.  But this week my way of 'relating' has come to cost me in 2 different ways. In one case I have found myself becoming a bit of an obsession - unhealthily so - and now this student will have to leave my class. I feel bad about this. I feel bad for him. But I feel uncomfortable now. I feel a little afraid too. The other case, ironically,  comes from being too honest, bonding too much. I may lose a class because I have uncertainties about my future here in Basel. I mean nothing has changed at this point. I am still here. I am totally here but when they asked if it might change I couldn't lie and say it wouldn't. Perhaps I should have lied but I can't do this to my students. I'll just have to brush up my busking skills so I can eat if the class ends.
The truth is I don't think i can change the way I teach. It's who I am. It's how I teach. I just need to learn how to roll with the punches and grow beans for leaner times.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Good vs Evil

Today I am angry. I don't get angry very often. I can be testy and short-tempered sometimes ( sorry to D who has probably borne the brunt of that over the years) but angry! Really angry. Rarely. OK maybe the time a Syrian man told me 'women are like meat at a feast and it is our prerogative to try as many different sorts as possible.' Actually I don't think I was even angry then. A little creeped out and less reluctant to try on the belly-dancing dress he had thoughtfully selected for me to try on in his shop ( ah the joys of solo-woman travelling in the Middle East.) But today I am angry. And disappointed. I am done with male students (a very very very small minority) who try to take advantage of my instinctively helpful nature. I am done.
On the flip side I have discovered a sweet shop in Basel that sells Cadbury Creme eggs. Woo hoo such a ray of light in an otherwise dark day. Enough to make me cry tears of joy!!!