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Posts Tagged ‘Friendship’

 

“If you want to find the trail, if you want to find yourself, you must explore your dreams alone. You must grow at a slow pace in a dark cocoon of loneliness so you can fly like wind, like wings, when you awaken.”
Francesca Lia Block, Dangerous Angels

 

After our leisurely start to the day “P” and I set off in glorious sunshine, with the top down and Sasha, the pooch ensconced in the back. The air was so crisp, the wind brisk, despite the breeze from our travel I didn’t feel in the least cold. It was invigorating and brought back memories of England.

I had absolutely no idea where we were or where we were going, apart from the promise that I would be dropped off at my hotel in Fribourg.  One stretch of our journey took us along a winding mountain road. There was a stream on my left, and I could hear the water rushing along over the sound of the wind in my hair. On my right was the mountain.

 

Suddenly, I saw the water rushing down the mountain, pure snowmelt, cascading over the ground towards the stream on my left. We pulled over to the side of the narrow road, just before a quaint wooden bridge where the water ran underneath. The roar of the water as it finally went under the bridge and joined the stream was louder than I expected. I could imagine the side of the mountain suddenly slipping down and washing everything away. The smell of ice crystals in the air was amazing.

Further along the snowmelt had made the road impassable and we carefully turned around and backtracked until we found another road to turn onto. Asked about lunch I realised the fresh air had made me hungry and we made our way to a small town in the mountains, Neuchâtel, and had a beautiful cheese fondue, for which the town is famous. Once again, gazing around at the scenery, it all seemed surreal, the backdrop to a movie. Everywhere I looked I saw either verdant green pasture or higher up, the snow-capped mountains. It felt like a peaceful interlude and I was truly grateful that “P” had brought me here.

It was a wonderful gesture, a gesture of true friendship. “P” had asked me what my plans were in Switzerland, especially Fribourg, which isn’t really on the main tourist route. I had made arrangements to meet up with friends there, however, just before I left Athens I received an email to let me know they had a family emergency and had to leave, an absence which they were unable to return from before I had to leave.

We finally arrived in Fribourg at day’s end and as “P” helped me get my bag out of the car he made me promise to return to Geneva early if I was lonely. Checking in to the hotel I found I was feeling tired, another first, which I put down to the bracing air and the car with the top down. After settling in and a light snack, once I curled up in bed to read I fell quickly asleep.

The next ten days past swiftly as I wandered around the ancient town.  Part of Fribourg is French whilst across the Sarine River is the German-speaking area of Switzerland. The Bern Bridge is completely covered and the only wooden bridge left today.

As I walked around I saw amazing examples of architecture from many different eras. The Cathedral of Saint Nicholas seemed to draw me almost every day.  It has been the Cathedral of the diocese of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg since 1945.

The narrow cobbled streets and cafes made it a beautiful place to stop for coffee and watch the world roll by. The time seemed drawn out and at the same time condensed as I was swept away in daydreams. Each day I would end my trip with a walk to the Zaehringen Bridge, 165m long over the Sarine River. Gazing at it I was always drawn to the cliff face and the sight of the many buildings clinging precariously to the edge. It seemed to embody the tenacity to survive that you can sometimes see when there seems no logical reason for them to be able to survive the winters for those many hundreds of years.

Only a short train ride from Fribourg was Lausanne, a beautiful city with the towering Notre Dame and Lausanne Cathedral.  It is actually a city in Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland. There are so many incredible buildings, historical buildings of note that I had a crick in my neck trying to take it all in. The gardens in the centre of town were full of spring flowers.

I saw “P” and his friend one day in Lausanne. He had called the hotel and asked if I would like to meet there for lunch, and even though I had been there only a few days before it was delightful to go back and have a relaxing lunch in one of the many cafes.  The trains are so quiet and fast in Switzerland that I was back in Fribourg in little time.  A quick trip to see the bridge and I was back at the hotel for the evening.

As agreed I left Fribourg early to stay in Geneva. The more metropolitan air was so different after Fribourg and as I walked around Lake Geneva I spent many hours pondering the differences we feel about certain places as we “travel through life”. I sat and watched the swans in their nest on the bank of Lake Geneva. Their regal bearing has always enchanted me and to see them so close, after such a long time was truly magical. I could see the Alps surrounding Geneva, felt the special quality in the air that only the Alpine air could provide and became lost in daydreams, or were they memories?

I saw ladies in ankle length gowns, men in tailored suits, walking leisurely around the lake. I heard the quietly spoken conversations, which must have been in French and yet I understood what they were saying. I felt as though I was walking along with someone, looking out of someone’s eyes, and seeing these things as though I was there.  I could see the old gaslights being lit along the walkway as the light began to fade.

I finally came back to myself, realising that I was going to be late meeting “P” if I didn’t hurry. It was strange, but hurry did not seem to be a word to use in Switzerland and I knew he wouldn’t mind if I was late.  None the less, this was my last night in Geneva and I had to leave the next morning to begin my journey home.

We once again talked late into the night, but this time I asked to be woken early so that we could make our way to the airport without worrying about traffic problems, which he said were common in peak hours. Just like any big city!

Leaving was smooth and effortless and as the cloudbank hid the land beneath me I caught one last majestic sight of the mountains, as their snow-capped heads rose above even the clouds.

 

Next week – Going Home

 

Blessings, Susan ♥

© Susan Jamieson 2014

 

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#Fun #Friendship#Love #Laughter

image from http://www.josephinewallart.co.uk
Dream Bubbles

“It is a grave injustice to a child or adult to insist that they stop crying. One can comfort a person who is crying which enables him to relax and makes further crying unnecessary; but to humiliate a crying child is to increase his pain, and augment his rigidity. We stop other people from crying because we cannot stand the sounds and movements of their bodies. It threatens our own rigidity. It induces similar feelings in ourselves which we dare not express and it evokes a resonance in our own bodies which we resist.”
Alexander Lowen, The Voice of the Body

Fun and Friendship, Love and Laughter

How do you describe the full spectrum of human emotion? Where do you find the words to tell someone how important they are to you? The answer is – you don’t need to. If you are in integrity with your inner self, your emotions and with your heart, then people will be able to sense the authentic you.

We hide our emotions to protect ourselves, from hurt, from pain, from loss and even from joy and love. There are times when our emotions are so strong that we struggle to find the words to let someone know how much they really mean to us. Often, it’s those who mean the most to us who we struggle to show the depth of our feelings for.

How many of us sit and laugh, cry, are inspired by and revolted by when we watch movies? The heroes and villains are able to reach inside us and find those chinks in our armour and those carefully held emotions come flooding out. For some it is a needed release, blaming the emotion on the artists craft to speak to us since it has become, for some, a weakness to show our true feelings. For some, allowing our true feelings to appear is a means for others to hurt and humiliate us, the very people with whom we should be able to be the most open and safe.

Here is a collection of three songs which are emotive and show the tenderness, love and the compassion of one person for another. Songs, which allow us to cry without fear of being laughed at or poked fun at. I’ve always believed it is the very people who use the love in someones heart to hurt them who need our compassion and pity, even if they often fail to deserve it by their actions.

Friends, real friends can be wonderful treasures in our lives. They are willing to listen to our pain, silently lending us their strength and helping us to heal so we may love again. Bette Midler in Beaches” singing “Wind Beneath my Wings” is, for me a wonderful example of true friendship.

Then there is the traditional love but from an unorthodox source. One of my favourite films is “City of Angels” with Meg Ryan and Nicholas Cage. How can one fail to be moved when she is struggling with her desire for love but cannot truly touch her angel? Yet when he makes the ultimate sacrifice for her their joy is so short lived. It has so much, from the angels greeting the sun together and listening to the wind to helping those who are ready to cross over.  For me it is a truly beautiful movie and the song, “In The Arms Of The Angel” by Sarah McLachlan.

It wouldn’t be complete to end without yet more pain and pleasure inextricably mixed. The incredible movie with Bette Midler, Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn singing “You Don’t Own Me” from “The First Wives Club” is a story of love, betrayal and survival through friendship.

I hope you enjoy the brief wander through the movies and emotions here. If they intrigue you why don’t you watch the movies? There are lessons to learn in the most unlikely places.

Blessings,  Susan ♥

© Susan Jamieson 2014

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~

“The most beautiful people I’ve known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.” ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

~

Another early start saw us on our way to the Cairo airport. Once again Mel and I seemed to attract the security guards and we went through the mandatory luggage check and then the pat down by some fierce looking female guards. No arguments here but my cheeks were sore trying not to smile, I didn’t think they would appreciate it. So, with a great deal of eye rolling from the rest of the group we finally made our way to the check in counter. I was beginning to think that they thought we were doing something to attract this unwanted attention. With bulging suitcases we definitely didn’t want our bags rummaged through every time we went to the airports.

A short flight later we were landing at the Amman airport, Jordan. Our arrival was met by a tour official and we were shepherded to the Amman Marriott Hotel. It was a nice easy day after the hustle and bustle at the end of our Egyptian leg and we made the most of catching up in the Business centre and grabbing a little rest.

Breakfast was bright and early the next day and we met our guide for this part of the trip. He was as different as he possibly could be from our guides in Israel and Egypt. His English was, to say the least, a trial as we strained to understand what he was saying. From his attitude I wondered if he had just wandered into town from the hills. He appeared more at home with the bus driver than his passengers, in fact we appeared to be unwelcome cargo.

Our first stop was at the Roman ruins in Jerash. It was an amazing sight. The Colosseum was almost intact and mock gladiator fights and chariot races were held throughout the day. You simply had to pay extra to see them – after you had paid to get into the site of course. Yet the scope of the ruins was enormous. You could easily visualise an entire city, and walking through the almost immaculate streets you could feel the size of the place. Thus was no small village but a thriving metropolis. Our guide waxed lyrical about the aqueducts in the streets and the sewage system tunnels, still able to operate. The heat was oppressive and there was no shade. People began huddling in the slight shade from the tall columns along the colonnade.

Amazingly there was lush green grass on the hillsides all around. It was a luxuriant emerald green with wildflowers sprinkled throughout. At the top of the nearby hill was a fenced enclosure with towers built along its length. Soldiers carrying weapons could be seen slowly patrolling the perimeter. It was another reminder that we were close to the border and as carefree as the ruins made you feel, real life was a heartbeat away with the torpid heat.

Leaving Jerash before we were all desiccated we retraced our ‘steps’ and headed for Petra, at the other end of Jordan. Why this strange route? We never found out, but a frantic rush ensued to reach Petra by nightfall. Once again we wondered why, until we were closer to our destination and the roads degenerated in quality. We definitely didn’t want to be broken down in the middle of ‘nowhere’. There was a collective sigh of relief as we finally pulled into the Hotel in Wadi Musa. It was time for a quick meal and an early night before the famous Petra Treasury tomorrow.

The next day dawned bright and hot. Sunscreen was applied by the truckload, although we were told it would be different once we reached the entrance to the treasury. Sand puffed up around our feet as we slowly walked across to the walk down to the mountain. Rejecting the pull of an easy donkey ride down we decided to leave that luxury for our exhausted return.  The heat was, for me, oppressive. We walked down the hill towards the Siq, the entrance through the mountain. It did nothing to prepare us for the sights once we entered Siq, the narrow cleft in the mountain.

The mountains seemed to flow like waves, with each rippled wave a different colour. The best times to see the mountains and Treasury are early morning and dusk as the sandstone picks up the sun’s rays and reflects these wonderful colours back at you. The Siq is 1.2km in length, formed by the mountain splitting and there really are only poet’s words to do justice to the magnificent sight, or photos!

Almost at the end of the Siq we could see the impressive Treasury, seen in Indiana Jones. It is a breathtaking sight. It towers over the surroundings and dwarfs mere humans with its presence. Apart from an almost unidentifiable muttering we had no introduction from our guide so we joined the crush of people entering the Treasury. Inside the Treasury, we could see the room built as the tomb of Nabataean King Aretas III.

We learned more from other guides as we wandered around than from our erstwhile goatherd. Yes, he told us he had come down from the country to guide tourists because there was no living to be made in the desert any longer. At least we understood why he was obsessed with the aqueducts! He did point out the lights and aqueducts along each side of the entry passage to the Treasury. The Romans were nothing if not thorough. It was blissfully cool inside the building, almost chilly in some places. The sandstone is so soft that apart from the external parts of the Treasury all the dwellings were carved from the rock.  The Arabic name for the Treasury is Al-Khazneh.

Another hot walk took us around to a lower part of the valley to the more traditional Roman ruins.  To the right of the valley was another smaller mountain, at the top, several caves. A purposeful climb later we stood at the top of the mountain overlooking the whole valley. It was only when we reached halfway to the top that Mel decided to let me know she didn’t like heights. Oops! It was a magnificent sight and balanced precariously on the edge I took some wonderful photos. On the way down we were stopped by several Bedouin girls. After chatting for a few minutes we were invited to have tea with them.

We were told explicitly NOT to go with any Bedouins, but…. Why spoil a good thing? The tea was very hot, very strong and VERY sweet. Of course, as we were sitting there our erstwhile spies walked past and seeing us under the overhang with our Bedouins, rushed off to tell everyone else we were probably being murdered or kidnapped. By this time we could laugh at the absurdity. It was with regret we said our goodbyes, but time was passing and we had to get back to the hotel. Succumbing to the lure of the donkeys, we had a slower trip back than if we had walked.

It had been many years since I had a donkey ride and it felt as though the years had fallen away. At one point I looked over my shoulder to see if Mum and Dad were still watching. It was a strange feeling as I knew, in my heart, that they were indeed watching. They had been watching over me the entire time I was wandering through Petra and I know Dad enjoyed the tea break with the Bedouins, that was his style.

Petra showed me that the present and the past have reflections of each other, if we are aware enough to see them. I had so much wanted my parents to enjoy parts of my trip and at the last moment in Petra they reminded me that they were there with me. After the sadness of losing Mum and Dad I was closer to them than I had been for quite some time. The heavy burden of grief lifted somewhat and I knew that in my heart they would always be with me. My spirit was soaring like the falcon I saw, happy that life follows its circle and allows us to make it complete again, when we are ready.

#In Seaarch of

Author unknown

Blessings, Susan ♥

Next week……. Madaba and Mount Nebo

© Susan Jamieson 2014

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#What's the Safety Word?

Image from footage.shutterstock.com –

“It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being.”
John Joseph Powell, The Secret of Staying in Love

Everyone has heard about the ‘safety word’. The safety word is the serious-I-mean-it-now time-to-stop word. The word the ‘client’ arranges when he visits his S&M bondage person so he doesn’t accidentally get himself killed during the ‘play’.

What I wonder, is the safety word when you’ve had enough of the ‘merry go round’? I’m referring to that time when you feel you literally cannot face another minute of the hurt, the pain, the torment, the abuse, the depression, the………. (just fill in the blank).

It almost sounds like the beginning to a play or a movie script. The notes followed by the story board before shooting begins. Except it isn’t part of a fictitious film, instead it’s a serious and real part of life. Not the calculated gambles people want to take with their fetishes or fantasies. If something goes wrong there then you almost have to say – ‘they knew what they were getting themselves into.’ But what happens when life pushes you too far?

Talking to people is easy. For some reason I’ve been fortunate that people find it easy to talk to me. I’ve been told many things. I’ve been blessed by sharing the good news of a daughter’s engagement, a son’s engagement, marriages, the unhappier news of divorces, accidents, windfalls and tragedies. It may sound strange to include windfalls as part of the unhappier news, but for many people it hasn’t brought them the happiness they hoped for. Sometimes yes, but many times they have found themselves in a much worse place than they were before their good fortune.

Sometimes there simply are no words to express how you feel. Sometimes you need to rely on a hug or holding someone’s hand and send them strength because there is nothing you can say or do to change things. Having to tell someone their child, husband or wife is dead is one of those times. Words just aren’t made to let people understand you feel their pain.

I had many talks with ‘Sharon’, a lovely lady who was always putting herself down. She simply couldn’t believe she was good at anything she did or that she was wanted or needed by anyone. Despite having a good job she was convinced she was stupid, since her husband continually told her she was. Even though she had two children she couldn’t persuade herself that there was any purpose to her being there. She convinced herself that they would be better off if she was no longer around.

Sharon took a bottle of pills and curled up waiting for the end to steal quietly over her. Her husband came home early and she was rushed to hospital. Unfortunately she didn’t get the help she needed and her unhappiness and feelings of low self-worth grew. Her husband helped her with that part. When she finally left him he embarked on a calculated plan to undermine her self-confidence and she found herself spiraling further down that dark hole.

She moved and I lost track of the family for a while. In trying to out run the influence of her ex-husband she isolated herself from everyone who knew her. She avoided anyone he knew and anywhere he was likely to go. There was nowhere for her to turn to. Her children moved out, as they do when they finally grow their wings and she fell into a deep depression. Depressed or not she still managed to work.

I met her again a short time ago. She often spoke to me of her struggle with ‘The Black Dog’, but being alone it was too difficult for her. She began trying to out run her problems. She would drive day and night when she was not working until she finally fell into a stupor to get some rest. But you can’t roll those dice for long before the stakes get too high. It’s almost like putting your hand in a basket of snakes and expecting not to get bitten.

Sharon told me she didn’t want to leave her children without some kind of support. She didn’t want them to be dependent on their father to “look after them”. Years later he still influenced how she thought and she didn’t trust him to do the right thing by his children. So her game of Russian roulette on the roads didn’t seem to make much sense on one hand, but knowing how her ex-husband had eroded her self-worth, it did.

It felt as though she was holding on by some tenuous thread and at times I wasn’t sure she really heard me. She did see a doctor and get medication, but it was going to be a long haul back.

Sharon died in a pile up on the motorway. She was on her way home from her mother’s funeral. A drunk driver had lost control and ploughed into the oncoming traffic. Her car was hit head on.

What was Sharon’s safety word?  I can’t help but wonder if she had a safety word.  Who could she have called out to, so that she could stop the merry go round? If she had a safety word when should she have used it?

Tell me, do you have a safety word?

#What's the Safety Word

image from s279.photobucket.com

Blessings, Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2014

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In Search of...Airports and Cairo

image from www-josephinewall-co.uk

The drive to the Ben Gurion airport was straight forward. For the rest of the tour group it was with mixed feelings that they were leaving. We had seen so many delightful things, the history and the way of life in Israel. For me, it was just a hiatus.  After the tour was concluded I was coming back to Tel Aviv for a further two weeks, I wasn’t finished with Israel yet.

What a difference having a tour guide made at the airport. The speed with which we were ushered through the checking in process was awesome, until it ground to an unseemly halt. Both Mel and I were selected to have our bags thoroughly checked out. Why were we chosen? I have no idea. Well, one, we were the only “single young females” in the group. Perhaps rifling through our underwear was part of the thrill of travelling overseas? Finally through we had our tickets, instructions that we would be met at Cairo airport and we were off on the next stage of our adventure.

#In Search of..Airports and Cairo

image from http://www.timesofisrael.com      Searching for the smallest thing

We traveled on Egypt Air this time and the plane gave the impression it might shake itself to pieces before we arrived in Cairo. No-one was inclined to walk around the plane this trip! However, it didn’t take long before we were landing and lining up to go through customs. The tour official who met us was a strange man indeed. He had a high pitched giggle which seemed to pop out far too often. Definitely not a laugh to make you feel comfortable, and then it all began again.

Mel and I were pointed to as we lined up with our luggage. No, they didn’t want to go through our clothes, this time they wished to search us! Much pointing ensued as we were hustled over to two semi partitioned cubicles where the ladies were searched by female airport security staff.  I’m sorry to say I was attacked by the humour of the situation and had an attack of the giggles. I don’t think the very stern looking, short and fat female security ladies found me amusing. At all!  Prodded and patted and twirled around, the prodding and patting down continued and then out came the wand to be whirled up and down our body. I nearly choked in the effort to stop laughing. If it hadn’t been for the tour official running around, his high pitched voice clearly audible where we were, I think we may have been retained a while longer.

#In Search of...Airports and Cairo

image from www-demotix-com. Egyptair

Finally released, we collected our bags and made our way through the airport, at speed, towards the bus awaiting us at the kerb. The bags seemed to be dispatched at greater speed into the bowels of the bus, as we were hurriedly ushered inside. Then came the most amazing lesson of all. Transport in Cairo.

I should explain that the main entrance into Cairo, from the airport, had six lanes, three each way. We are all fairly familiar with the road system, whether we drive on the right or left hand side of the road. Nothing however, could prepare anyone for this. The three inbound lanes became six! Two vehicles per lane, and it made no difference whatsoever how large either vehicle was. Pedestrians scuttled madly across this hurtling, screeching, nightmare of metal to reach either the centre of side of the road.

#In Search of..Airports and Cairo

Egypt, Cairo traffic

Stunned silence enveloped the bus as we watched these kamikaze pedestrians risking life and limb to cross the road. Sensing the quiet the tour official popped up out of his seat and said, in his high pitched giggle, “Not to worry, they’re made of rubber, just bounce if they hit the cars.” I’m not quite sure what was more astounding, that people ran across the road as they did or that this person seriously thought we would believe people bounced off them if  hit. Well, they do bounce but it’s not very good for them when they land. The honking of horns filled the air as we made our way to the hotel.

#In Search of..Airports and Cairo

Tourist entrance Cairo Marriott Hotel

What an incredible transformation. We were staying at the Marriott. I know I felt awkwardly under dressed for the reception. Opulence greeted us everywhere we turned. I simply wanted to find my room, bathe and change into something more respectable. Somehow jeans and joggers didn’t seem quite right amidst the gilt and grandeur.  For the first time the group was spread all over the hotel. I was in the far wing, far enough away to need a map to get back to reception, and of course, I got lost in the labyrinth of the hotel. Thank heavens for bell boys.

#In Search of...Airports and Cairo

Cairo Marriott Hotel and Casino

Mel and I had decided to buy water for our trip and so had arranged to meet in reception after we had time to get our luggage into our rooms and felt a little more respectable. Perhaps it was due to the fact that my room was in the far wing, but it took an age to get my luggage up to my room. In fact I was waiting so long I had time for a coffee and Mel called to find out if I had a problem – Um mm yes, my luggage hasn’t arrived.

Buying water at the hotel was exorbitant, plus they only sold small bottles. We wanted to stockpile sufficient to take us through our Egyptian sojourn. The instructions to reach a shop, outside he precincts of the hotel, were simple. We needed to go down through the rear of the hotel to the “tradesman’s entrance”, then cross the road and turn left, and the shop is on the corner. Simple! Yes?….. No!

Uniformed bellboys, ushers and waiters were delightfully helpful. We found the rear entrance, or should it be exit, with no problems. Then we took a good look at the road. Three marked lanes and six, seven lines of hurtling metal, all heading past us. We noticed, just one of those strange things which happen at these times, that there was not a single vehicle which had even one panel without a multitude of dints in it. I have never seen a more motley collection of vehicles which looked as if they should be heading for the wreckers, and ‘they’ apparently thought pedestrian were made of rubber!

#In Search of...Airports and Cairo

image from http://www.theguardian.com                  Running the Gauntlet

Taking our courage in both hands and a large serving of insanity, we charged across the street during a slight lull (a one car space) and reached the far side. The shopkeepers and their customers came out and looked, some clapped and the car drivers all honked their horns, and waived at the two crazy western women. Laughing we looked round for the shop. No, it’s not here. Wait a minute, right across from where we were standing, back where we had just come from, was a little shop with a sign out front indicating water was sold there. It seems our guardian angels were looking out for us.

#In Search of...Airports and Cairo

image from http://www.non-competes.comWater! The ice would have been nice.

It appeared the road we needed to cross was the driveway to the hotel, on the same side of the street. They really didn’t want us buying water outside the hotel. We looked at each other and then at the once more speeding traffic.  Suddenly, one of the other pedestrians strode out into the maelstrom of speeding madness and held his hand in the air. The universal signal to STOP! We cringed, waiting to see the inevitable happen, or if he would ‘bounce’. With a screech of many brakes the traffic stopped, every single car stopped without hitting anything. We hurriedly crossed to road to the sound of good natured calls and waves. Waving back we reached safety back where we started five minutes earlier.

#In Search of...Airports and Cairo

image from caieg_phototour149 Promenade, Cairo Marriott Hotel

Buying our water supplies we headed back to the hotel. We decided a cup of coffee and a short respite was in order before we explored a little. We were served coffee in beautiful gold embossed china cups and a Turkish delight that melted in your mouth. Life was wonderful and a short while later, refreshed and glad to be alive we set out to explore the hotel.

Blessings, Susan x

Next Week  – Sandstorms, Light Shows, Poverty and Riches.

© Susan Jamieson 2014

In Search of….Part 14

In Search of…Part 13

In Search of…Part 12

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Christmas Calling

image from
josephine-wall-fantasy-paintings.co.uk

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ”
― Norman Vincent Peale

~

“I know what I really want for Christmas.
I want my childhood back.
Nobody is going to give me that. I might give at least the memory of it to myself if I try. I know it doesn’t make sense, but since when is Christmas about sense, anyway? It is about a child, of long ago and far away, and it is about the child of now. In you and me. Waiting behind the door of or hearts for something wonderful to happen. A child who is impractical, unrealistic, simpleminded and terribly vulnerable to joy.”
― Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

~

The Christmas of times past seems to have vanished like the snow from my door. Snow is never likely to fall in front of my door again, but it really has only a small part to play in the changes in Christmas. I would that I could offer everyone the intense joy and happiness I knew with each and every Christmas. The fact that it has changed for me is a matter of great dismay. The fact that it has changed for so many others is daunting.

As a child I knew so much happiness and excitement as Christmas drew close. It wasn’t for the fact that the stores were filled with toys and lollies and Christmas decorations. It was for the joy and wonder my parents and grandparents created each day leading up to Christmas day. I was fortunate that the shops didn’t put out the decorations, cards and toys until much closer to Christmas. The unique ‘specialness’ of Christmas had not been inundated with the bombardment of the commercialism of Christmas. It yet held that special air of magic. The pleasure of a nativity calendar!

I remember one year, being so convinced that my parents had to be helping Santa by hiding our gifts somewhere at home. After all he couldn’t really get them all round the world to every boy and girl on Christmas Eve, could he? I searched the house from top to bottom (I was very excited). I found nothing of course. My parents knew me well – they had hidden everything at my Nanny’s since she lived next door. It was a thrilling time none the less.

I remember when I was old enough to start sending Christmas cards to my friends. It was a sign, an indication that I was getting older and able to understand the real meaning behind Christmas. It meant, to me at least, that Christmas was a time for family, and for friends, and more than that for everyone I met. It was a time to share happiness, even if it was only a smile or a card.

Christmas Calling

image from theearthconstitution.org

I remember when my children were born and the excitement I felt when I gave them cards and gifts. I remember the fun we had as we made up Christmas hampers for the Salvos and for the RSPCA.  I remember with a sigh, when they too became old enough to want to give their friends Christmas cards.  Yet, in what feels like a few short years later the world itself has changed. Somehow, Christmas has lost some of its magic and sparkle and we are the poorer for it.

People  no longer want to send cards, if you are very fortunate you might get an e card. I haven’t yet found a way to hang it up though. What does that card mean? To me it meant that I cared about the person I was sending it to; I was thinking about them even if I couldn’t see or speak with them on Christmas day – or perhaps over the few days of Christmas. So a card, especially when money was tight, was a true gift of the heart to say…I miss you and I wish you all the best and that you were here. We made cards which held a stronger magic of love.

The other day I heard someone refer to themselves as an orphan and having an ‘Orphan Christmas’ because their parents had divorced. I felt so saddened by that. I thought of all the children who have never had parents, are living on the streets, or whose parents have passed away and therefore cannot have any part of the physical Christmas with them. I understand, I think, what they meant, but I couldn’t stop the tears forming, as I thought of the fact that my parents were no longer here, my brothers not speaking with me and my children unable to visit this year. I was selfish, I know, but the words hit like a barb bringing all the other barbs to play.

What hit the hardest was knowing that this move from giving Christmas cards means that I don’t even have the joy of a card to say – Yes, they are thinking of me. There is a part of them here too. Of course, they are in my heart, but I have to wonder why people are so reluctant to spend a few dollars sending a card.  What has happened to the feeling and magic of Christmas?

Oh, I know, its expensive sending cards today, and if you are giving someone a gift why spend a few extra dollars on a card? Better yet, why send a card when the postage costs more than the card? Perhaps it’s the thought, why send a card at all, we don’t see or hear from them most of the year? Somehow this just sounds like excuses or miserly thinking. (To me). The Christmas Spirit seems to be vanishing, or has the Christmas Grinch caught up with most people?

I am often heard wishing for snow at Christmas, the feel of the crisp air and the crunch of snow underfoot. The robins and tinsel, mistletoe and fairy lights. My mother’s fantastic Christmas tree decorated, which eclipse mine to this day, I can never see again, except in my memory. The paper decorations we all made as children – do you remember the strips of coloured paper, we glued one end to make a circle, then added more? Paper chains, we had a houseful one year. 🙂  I have beautiful cross stitch ornaments and sequin balls made at school by my children. Yet there is a hollow feeling in my heart. The Christmas magic is being stolen.

If I was allowed only one Christmas wish I would give it to –  all of you. I would wish you; a Christmas filled with joy and magic, the excitement of family or friends, or someone who cared, to make your Christmas special. If I could I would make sure that everyone received at least one Christmas card, with wishes for a safe and happy Christmas, filled with love and that you would all return safe and sound in the New Year.  

~

Wherever you are, my wish is that you receive the joy and magic from my heart to yours. That you feel the love and happiness of Christmas, of time shared however briefly together.

~

This, is my Christmas Calling to You.

~

Blessings, Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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