This morning I was driving my daughter to her weekend Chinese class and we had a very interesting conversation. She was complaining about her inability to always find interest in continuing to learn Chinese whilst living in Germany and this took us to musings about the human brain and how we, humans have so much unused potential. It has been said that humans only use 10% of the brain capacity and once we push and struggle to learn new things, we are perhaps activating otherwise dormant wirings in our brain and faculties. She became very interested in the process and walked to the class with a spring in her step.
Day 68 of 365~
image is a composite of a wall in Hong Kong and a closeup portrait of my daughter.
As I began to write my blog tonight, I received the breaking news notification of yet another horrible school shooting in America. How tragic to hold back the future by cruelly eliminating its ambassadors. Whatever the cause, whatever the trigger, how can this be prevented?
How unnatural for a life to go before it’s reached its potential!
Day 45 of 365~
Image taken in India
displaced destinies (a child at a migrant school in Shanghai)
Today two good friends and I went for an adventure in a remote Shanghai neighborhood where mostly migrant workers from the provinces live and where their children go to special schools. These are the workers responsible for lifting Shanghai from the ground up to soaring levels with its new high rises and luxury hotels that mushroom at an impressive speed around the jewel of China. The residences are extremely modest and the children struggle to learn as best they can under their current circumstances. On this day the teacher said that they would be celebrating children’s day (normally on June 2nd in China) and strangely enough they pointed out a few of the girls who they consider ‘beautiful’ and explained why they were dressed in party clothes and not the usual school uniform. The declaration of their beauty was done openly in front of all the other students, a concept I found incredibly alien and difficult to understand. “She is the most beautiful girl in the class” the teacher announced loudly, ” and this is why she will be presented on stage today”.
The long walk back~ schoolgirls~ Yunnan
One hour walk to school, school is on the other side of the mountain, one hour walk back home… so much effort for receiving a fraction of what our children take for granted.
I have been thinking a lot lately about children and the process of growing up. My daughter is 7 and she is a dreamer, a total believer in the magic of life, in fairies, in angels, in the unusual and special things about life. As she gets schooled and gradually grows older, some of her beliefs will get beaten to the ground and deemed silly, childish and unreal. I dread that day that is sure to come to at least some parts of her magical life and I pray that she may gather some of this sparkle to keep for herself in a special place somewhere, because how dull is a life without magic?
when color takes you back
Does it happen to you sometimes that you may see a color, smell a certain smell, or hear a specific tune and they act as a trigger for memories that were long dormant in you? Funny how our life experiences are never really gone, but are somehow stacked neatly in the archives of our mind until something happens to wake them and bring them rushing to our conscious awareness…
Today I visited Lea’s school for a Christmas afternoon celebration, and seeing their class colored pencils stacked there neatly took me back with a jolt to a small class room in the North of Lebanon and for a moment I could smell the old pencils, my desk with its worn out wood cover that could open and close for us to keep things inside and that mostly smelled of old sandwiches, the room, the chalkboard and the village breeze that brought with it the aroma of the olive groves through the open windows.
“Schreibschrift”, cursive writing, from the Latin currere (to run), the concept of connecting letters together for a faster flow and to not have to remove the quill from the paper while scribing. It is an elegant way of writing that is unfortunately no longer required in 41 of the United States of America, giving way to more keyboard training instead.
However, this form of writing engages parts of the brain responsible for language and letter recognition that the keyboard punch and on screen learning cannot. It draws on the artistic side as well and most importantly on their patience. It is such a pity that something so romantic, so elegant and so traditional is facing possible extinction in our fast world of today. As I type this on my keyboard, I do realize that we all are using computers for almost everything, but something in me is singing in delight that my daughter is still required to learn cursive writing daily in the German school.
The little dancer
It was the opening act of the summer festival at the German School in Shanghai, the audience filled the seats, my heart was pounding nervously about her dance being the first in the show…I imagined a nervous, shy, hesitant little girl.
And out she came, confident, proud, dancing with all her soul to the rhythm, enjoying every second she had on stage…
They never cease to surprise us our little humans!
The ramblings of a very proud mother…