Friday, April 2, 2010

To see or not to see

It’s cold. It’s wet. It’s really quite miserable for Spring/Easter in Northern California. I long for that soft warm breeze wafting through my open doors. And doesn’t that seem like a hundred years ago, when I sat on the floor wrapping Christmas presents, cooked meals in my kitchen, enjoyed Thanksgiving, entertained my friends…………


My current phase is nothing like those pleasant ones. This one goes so well with the cold and the wet. I am wrapped in a blanket of “not knowing”, of insecurity, of wondering and yes, some fear. You see, for most of my life I have suffered from a genetic flaw in my eyes called keratoconos. It’s a long word and a very long, disabling condition, where the corneas of the eyes grow out gradually to resemble cones, then tilt downward and develop humps just like sagging skin in old age, until vision is so distorted, that it really can’t be called vision at all. Modern technology has helped so much over the years with gas permeated contact lenses, light weight glasses that are super strong, and ultimately, thankfully, transplants. This along with good anesthesia, really, really good painless anesthesia, makes the process of seeing again possible.

Like all transplant surgery, the corneas too, need a donor, anti-rejection drugs, though thankfully topical, and time, a lot of time. That is where I am now, post surgery, waiting in that damp, cold blanket of unknowingness for my third transplant to help me see. The shock and despair of the first time around has faded in those dim recesses where bad memories go after a while, so after more than 30 years it seemed a good choice to try again. Technology has come such a long way in those 30+ years. The instruments are finer, the sutures too, doctors more confident after years and years of practice now. No lazing around in hospitals for two weeks any more, but rather home in one’s own bed that very same evening. Staph and super bugs are rampant in hospitals today, so one really is better off at home, with family, loving friends who bring food along with their friendly smile, wine (so important for healing) and a sense of security that the doctor is a phone call away if some need should develop. Nurses and doctors today share so much that one feels quite well versed in all the medical jargon of a particular procedure, along with feeling in safe hands with their friendly smiles, comforting touches and understanding looks. All that definitely wasn’t there 30 years ago. Then we were told that the doctor knew best and we should be good and do what he says (always a HE back then). No way would anyone ask too many questions in case the doctor or nurses became impatient and left the room. We knew to behave.

But the healing, and the not seeing, and that little voice (you know the one, the one that makes you doubt that everything really will be all right) - all that is exactly the same. I sit and I wait, and wait some more, hoping that THIS morning I will see just a small speck more, be able to see and pick off a piece of lint from my husband’s sweater, look outside and see that noisy bird landing on the rail. Someone died, and was kind enough to think beyond that moment and give a gift to another in need, so that someone like me could see in the future. So God, if you are listening, if you are there, I’m ready, I want to see the sunshine and the Spring colors blooming next week. I am sooooo very ready to see again, to open my eyes and have sharpness in my focus, to glance around and recognize who is waving at me from across the room, to be able to drive safely knowing that I really can see the road, the trees, the houses and the world of Spring as it drops it’s tiny blossoms everywhere, making way for those glorious buds of fruit that we will pick in a few short weeks.

I should see like that soon, shouldn’t I?? This fuzzy blurriness will sharpen up really soon, won’t it?? It’s been a whole week since my transplant…………..

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mess, Madness, and Music

Sitting in the middle of the lounge room floor, the warm breeze wafting through the house, contemplating the arrival of Christmas 2009………wait! Was I not there just a few short weeks ago? No, my friends, it’s been a whole year since I have put pen to paper, or rather, fingers to keyboard to continue my saga, memories of my childhood, and how three magical countries have influenced my life. Lest you think I have been lazy and done nothing but eat bon bons and watch television, fear not, it has been a very busy and fulfilling year. History was made last November in the United States and we have our first black president but as to change from that event, politics moves slowly even when it is perceived as fast. On the Latvian front we were exited and hopeful that Latvia’s past president Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga would become the first woman president of the European Union. Even I was so exited I started drafting my curriculum vitae to send to her. Surely she needed me to translate the trivia she would have no time for, run and do all her odd jobs, fetch her coffee. With my languages and passports, surely she would see what an indispensable and valuable asset I would be to her and beg me to move to Brusells, Belgium with her so that I could cater to her every whim. Unfortunately, she was unsuccessful in her bid, and therefore I too, couldn’t realize my dream of being her aide. Ah, life’s disappointments are so unjust.

Instead, I seem to have meandered into a bunch of un-wieldable, uncomfortable and, at times, humorous M’s. Menopause, malfunction, maladies, misunderstandings, memory loss, melancholy, myopia, muscle aches, manners (or lack thereof), memories, medicine, Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays. Picasso had his Blue Period and I am choosing to have “The M part of My Life”. Menopause, well, the less said about that the better. No one, and nothing, prepares a woman for that wonderful adventure which is much like spending 10 years on a stiflingly hot tropical island, surrounded by shark infested waters and a companion, who, no matter how hard he/she tries to be supportive, manages to always say and do the wrong thing and that just makes you so mad, hot and bothered that you can’t even remember what you originally started to do, and there is always so much to do even on an island, wood to chop, water to haul, meals to prepare and………... where was I???

Mess is a big one, especially after Thanksgiving. This is truly a wonderful American tradition that doesn’t involve all the hoopla of the holidays and yet the messiest to clean up after a meal that was way too rich and filling, but somehow also so very worth it. Of course the mess continues as the closet spews forth all its’ contents for Christmas. No longer the sickly looking tree with maybe a dozen ornaments and a few candles. No, no, we decorate the whole house now, even the bathrooms, hallways and especially outside. Many matrimonial misunderstandings about why we really need all those dishes, glasses, towels, Santas, snowmen, lights and decorations in general. There are no small children, no big parties planned in the house this year, so why all this for two people? It is all part of the madness we inflict on ourselves to have a Merry Christmas, mellow music, mouth-watering meals and gaily await what the coming year will hold in store for us.

2010 - just a few short weeks away, what will it bring for us, the Baby Boomers who changed the world? My parents wouldn’t understand the world today with its’ texting, Googling, and Facebook social networking. Personally, I think the Baby Boomers and the X, Y, Z generations who have followed have done a great job, perhaps only losing manners and a modicum of understanding what really matters along the way. Raised as a small “Latvian princess” who curtsied and respected my elders no matter what they did or said, I sometimes shudder with melancholia at “those young people today”. But then, invariably, a young person will surprise me pleasantly, having charming old world manners, respect for one’s elders, totally correct grammatical speech, a wonderful, happy, smiling face and I know that all will be well with the world. We did a good job and now it is time to relax and decorate our huge homes, entertain our many friends, laugh, reminisce, take extra medication to cope with all the eggnog, turkey and rich foods in general, and cruise. The Boomers really love to cruise, not me, I like Terra Firma, but cruising does seem to be the pastime the Boomers revel in, and they are doing it par excellence.

Whatever 2010 may have in store for us, I believe it will be busy, fun and very fruitful. No bored days on the couch knitting and waiting to move to the retirement village, then God’s Waiting Room for us. That will possibly come later down the road, but not for a while yet, too many things to see and do, Bucket’s Lists to fulfill, mountains to climb, cruises to cruise and new people to meet and countries to see. In my mental madness, this magical moment of M, I feel that the world can still be conquered, that Don Quixote and Sancho Panza will escort me to the windmills and back to Mancha, there to dream the impossible dream and beat the unbeatable foe. Let’s roll!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cranberries, Christmas and California

Sitting in the middle of the lounge room floor, surrounded by Christmas wrapping paper and as yet unwrapped gifts, all the windows open as the warmth from outside permeates through the house, I am momentarily bewildered. It is late November and I was going to read up on recipes for different cranberry sauces for Thanksgiving, a few short days away, but have opted instead to start early on the Christmas presents. It is 80 degrees Fahrenheit and so hard to bring myself to think about Thanksgiving and Christmas in this mild, beautiful, sunny weather.

Yet the warmth worked it’s magic and took me back to another place and time in my life. Up until my move to California just over a decade ago, all my Christmases were hot in the Australian summer. Eventually we learned to eat foods more suitable to the heat, preferably by a pool or at the beach, a park or a backyard BBQ. Cricket was a game taken seriously by the whole nation and the swatting of flies was the only thing that mattered more that hitting that small red cricket ball. But in those early, far back days, when my parents and grandparents had managed to pull their lives back together after the war, find jobs and somewhere to live, we still lived by the old European traditions. Heavy, rich, creamy food was prepared for days leading up to Christmas, all the foods we now associate with snow, rain, sleet and cold. Hot mulled wine wafted through the house, rich saffron breads, loaded with dried fruits, “piragi” little bacon buns that take hours to make and seconds to consume, roast pork and very rich chocolate, cream cakes along with the obligatory “pepper cakes” ginger cookies. These are the tastes of my childhood, tastes my mouth longs for now, but at the time, in heat exceeding a 100 degrees and no air conditioning, senses were overwhelmed by the cloying, heavy smells.

In the above photo, one can see our grand tree, six or seven ornaments and a few strands of tinsel. How those pine trees survived the heat is something I will never truly comprehend. I know as a small child, I had to keep adding water to the bucket the tree stood in, or it would die very quickly and the pine needles get brittle and dry, a very real fire danger from the candles, as this was long before the electric lights we enjoy today. From the adoring look I am giving my mother, I was obviously very excited about Father Christmas coming with my gift. I do say gift not gifts, as the days of children receiving more than one gift for Christmas were still a very long way away.

As we all gradually became Australians and adapted to our new homeland, we took on the traditions of Australia. Our own affluence, time and the weather, created different traditions, ones with lobsters, salads, ice cream cakes, Carols at the Myer Music Bowl, and long lazy walks along the beach in the evening. Just last year I had the pleasure of enjoying another Christmas with my family in Melbourne. The temperature leading up to Christmas Eve was stiflingly hot, around 110 degrees Fahrenheit and with limited air conditioning, we opted for a less traditional Latvian dinner and chose the best of both worlds. Absolutely delicious fresh lobsters, prawns, smoked salmon (smoked in the back yard with plenty of dill and even maple syrup which my son had brought over from Canada), piragi, cold Latvian potato salad with that little extra for color, beetroot! Of course there was the obligatory ham, green salad, copious amounts of good Aussie wine, and of course, great company. What a delicious melding of two cultures to compensate for heat but still keeping Latvian traditions alive.

And now, as the days will grow even shorter here in California, a little more chilly, but not snowy nor icy cold, I will adjust yet again, somewhere in the middle of the very harsh Latvian Christmas and the heat of the Melbourne ones. The short days allow us to string up loads of beautiful lights to illuminate our homes, backyards and boats, and the cooler temperatures will give me that kick start to look up the old recipes again. Cranberries figure predominantly in both the US and Latvian cooking, so maybe those few different sauces to accompany the turkey will be in order.

Looking back at my life, I realize how very blessed I have been to live the way I have and garner and retain my three different cultures. It feels so very right to combine these three cultures during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, call the whole period “The Holidays” and spend this time with people I love and care about, in California, where I can share from my past and look forward to the future. This future will involve everything I have brought with me through my life, handed down from my parents, and melded together with all the new things I am learning and experiencing in my new homeland. The fact that most of these experiences involve food, wine, good friends and family, adds to the sweetness and joy of the experience.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

If a sparrow is born in a stable, does it make the sparrow a horse??

Even when we are aware that it is better not to, we still use labels for people, events and things and as time goes on, it seems the habit is becoming more pronounced. With just a few days to go until the United States elects a new president, we are told it will be an historic event; we will either have a black president or a women vice president. So it seems the color of one’s skin or gender still labels the person and that person will enter the history books as a new and very significant participant in a “never before” event.

Labeling has always existed and as much as we may not like it, it will continue. In the above photograph my mother and paternal grandparents are labeled as displaced people, affectionately known as DP’s, with those enormous tags that I have always associated with morgues and toes. Maybe it was so they would not get lost or displaced again, or wander off inadvertently to the wrong train or ship. Either way, in time of war, when your country has been taken over and you are living in limbo, it seems these tags and labels were imperative. Even the train didn’t escape the injustice of being labeled! But somehow I think the inhabitants of the train were happy after 4+ years of punishing hunger, to be on their way to a new land far across the sea. This photograph is of one of the carriages filled with Latvians on their way to a ship taking them to Australia, dated April 12, 1949. “Aufwiedersehen Europa” in it’s literal translation means “To see you again Europe” which was what all of these immigrants hoped would transpire. After losing Latvia to Communism and watching as Germany was carved up, leaving them with virtually no identities but those pinned on their clothes, these people were off to a brand new start, but they all dreamed of the day they would return home to their native land. As we know now, that didn’t happen to this generation, they settled into a comfortable and good life that Australia offered them, worked hard and assimilated well. Some of their children have returned to Latvia and started afresh there after 1991, but most remained in Australia, continuing what their parents started anew after the war.

Labeling was rampant in those days and political correctness was a term for the future. The Balts and Poles later gave way to Dagos, Wogs and Poms, and no one really took offense. It’s who we were and we accepted that. But what we didn’t accept was the lack of knowledge from the locals. In 1956 Melbourne hosted the Olympic Games and amongst many of the athletes, who did a full days work before competing, were two young Latvians named John (Janis) and Ilsa Konrads. At age 14, John won several medals for Australia, as did Ilsa who was two years younger. In the seven short years since arriving in Australia, Latvians had made their mark, albeit small, and were recognized as great swimmers because of the Konrads children. When I talked to people in the street, which was very normal in Australia back then, they all said I must be a great swimmer too! I think I had just earned my “Herald Certificate” which proclaimed that I was able to swim the length of a pool, not a big deal, so I stared in bewilderment at these well-meaning folks. Then they would ask me if I could still speak Russian. In seven years people had forgotten that Latvia had been a country with it’s own identity and language, had been annexed by the Soviets and the inhabitants forced to speak the Russian language. How did that apply to me in Australia, where I was busy assimilating into a good little Aussie, yet still trying to keep all my Latvian traditions and language going?? I would ask them quite blatantly “If a sparrow is born in a horse’s stable, does that make the sparrow a horse??” I usually received a little pat on the head and a weak smile in response. But was that a form of labeling back then too?? If two Latvians were so good at swimming, then weren’t all Latvians good at it and if Latvia was now part of what the world accepted as Russia, then shouldn’t we all speak fluent Russian??

Sadly, in the newspaper yesterday, I read that John Konrads, now 66 has been labeled as bi-polar, is down on his luck and wanting to sell his Olympic gold medals. He is still an incredibly handsome man, one who accomplished an enormous amount even after his Olympic career ended, and had opportunities that most of us only dream about. Maybe the labeling will make it easier for him. I hope so, because along with his sister, they were my heroes in the fifties, gave me hope of what can be achieved after the world falls apart as it did for so many after World War ll.

This little sparrow still flutters around, has left the horses’ stable, made that huge swim across the Pacific Ocean and flies in an even bigger, wider pasture. As an American I will vote on Tuesday, something I have worked hard for and consider a privilege. Whoever wins this presidency will be labeled a “first” and be written into history. Personally, if I had to attach a label to myself it would be difficult. The ones I want like beautiful, incredibly talented, famous, rich etc, would be a really big stretch, so I’d have to settle for the ones most people recognize me by: Aussie, Latvian, American followed, of course, by all the above as well as fabulous woman living life to the hilt!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Can amber capture your soul?

Does amber have magical properties, whereby it can capture and hold one’s soul as it does ants, bees, and flies?? The movie “Jurassic Park” certainly made us all think that one day it just might be a possibility to obtain minute quantities of DNA from the animals and plants trapped inside amber for up to 60 million years. But can it hold the soul of a person??

Amber is fossil tree resin and has been known to be up to 90 million years old. So why would I associate this old, semi-precious stone with my soul?? Possibly because 80% of amber comes from the Baltic region, washing up in large and small pieces all along the shores of Latvia. There isn’t a single Latvian, anywhere in the world, who doesn’t have a drawer full of chunks, necklaces, cuff links, cigarette holders, paper weights, bracelets, rings or anything else imaginable that could be made from this semi precious stone. Every single time my eyes alight on a piece of amber, whether it be set in a beautiful piece of jewelry, or is shoved in a drawer along with so many necklace strands, my heart aches, just that little bit. My soul stirs, like it wants to move to another time, and memories come flooding back. Not just my memories, but also those of my parents, and their parents and their parent’s parents.

It seems my love of the color yellow is not only limited to the beautiful wattle that graces the eucalyptus tree, the golden hills of California, but the rich and varied hues of amber as well. My home resonates the love of the earthy golden color, soft oranges and opaque, pale yellows of amber. In it’s own way, the magic of amber really has captured my soul.

Latvia is a very long way from Australia, not only in distance, but in the way people lead their lives and adapt to the elements. “Land of the midnight sun”, where one can experience 24 hours of daylight on mid-summer’s eve and almost 24 hours darkness in mid December is the land of my family’s origin. These harsh weather conditions and changes differ so greatly to the easy going lifestyle of Australia, where the climate is very temperate, there is virtually no snow, except in the higher elevations, and the inhabitants have a very laid back attitude to most things. The old adage “She’ll be right, mate”, said with a grin and a stubby beer, has epitomized how Australians are viewed the world over. My parents arrived into this different world as Displaced People, DeePee’s, in May of 1949. They had suffered greatly during the war, watching as the Communists took over Latvia, then the “Liberators” the Germans, and finally again the Communists. They lived in Germany for four years, firstly as students completing their doctorates in their respective fields, archeology and law, and secondly in camps in the French Sector of a divided Germany. They starved, being forced to steal from a field of raw onions and eating until they cried, whether from the onions or having found some food, they never really knew themselves. After arriving in Australia they vowed they would never go hungry again, nor ever throw away any food. They stayed true to both these ideals and in later years I had to check that the rotting, green things in the back of the refrigerator, were thrown away, lest they try to spread it on their black bread and say that a little mould never hurt anybody!

This then was the strange world I was born into and how my soul became a little confused. I was brought up as a little Latvian, yes, with all the amber and fur trimmed clothes. Perfect Latvian had to be spoken at all times, etiquette lessons, holding a knife and fork correctly, a “demi tasse”, a champagne glass, curtsying and generally living as one would have in Europe. I spoke Latvian, German and even Russian with my paternal grandmother. And then one day I had to go to English school…………

One would think that a child who spoke no English on the first day of school would have just a little trouble in an English speaking country. Not so. My parents had prepared me well with all the other languages and figured that an extra one would not be difficult to pick up easily. And for whatever reason, I did, even “jumping a grade” because my parents thought the school was holding me back. Young children are so adaptable, and there were so many of us “Balts” and “Poles” in the school system at that time, that we all managed to make ourselves understood and eventually speak English well. It was much harder to explain to the Australian children what dark rye bread was or why my grandmother knitted stockings for me to wear. I will be eternally grateful to the Italian and Greek immigrants who came in droves around 1956. They brought with them their wonderful Parmesan and feta cheeses, which we so love today, but way back then, the smell was just too strange but deflected nicely from my bread and stockings!

An absolute must for any young Latvian child in the fifties was to go to Latvian School on Saturdays. Now, this was not a school that we could walk to like English school. Those early émigrés knew that if they wanted to keep the Latvian culture going at all, they had to provide schools, churches, camps and places where the community could gather until the original “Evil Empire”, Communism, collapsed and we could all go back home. Until then, they worked hard at providing Latvian culture, whether we wanted it or not, by buying buildings and turning them into schools in a fairly central position for everyone to reach. My Saturdays, from the age of about 6, involved walking half an hour to the railway station (uphill both ways, as I remember it), riding the train for a whole hour, getting off at the other end and walking another half hour (not all downhill either), sitting through interminable lessons of Latvian grammar, geography, history, literature, singing and dancing, walking back to the railway station, riding the train, then walking uphill back to my home. As a reward, my dear mother had always prepared something special like a lamb roast, or veal with bay leaves and cream sauce over mashed or roast potatoes. (I might mention that as an academic, my mother was not the greatest cook, but my mouth always watered when the aroma of her roasts reached my nostrils). Often my father met me at the station and bought me an ice cream cone - one cone cost 3 pennies and I can still remember the special flavor of the ice cream, vanilla, so rich, so creamy, almost a forbidden taste. No one worried that it would spoil my appetite for dinner, as I still had that uphill walk and would be starving by the time I arrived home. And, of course, there was all that homework for the next Saturday! What a grand place Melbourne was in those early fifties, where children were safe to ride the train, walk for hours, and generally travel alone all day with no fear of attacks or violence. In all the years of going to Saturday School, I never heard a single incident of harm coming to any of the children.

So, yes, amber can capture a soul and make it soar to places that other people can only imagine. It is so much a part of me and who I am today, along with the eucalyptus tree with it’s beautiful yellow wattle flowers, and of course, the bald eagle as it soars to unimaginable heights looking down on us like ants trapped in a piece of amber.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Could the eagle be winning??

Could I possibly be becoming more and more American without even realizing it? Those first months after moving here permanently seem such a long time ago now and the battles to assimilate new customs, traditions and just plain make myself understood have faded to a dim memory. The fear of driving somewhere on the right-hand side of the road, amongst streets and freeways I had no knowledge of, to stores that had unfamiliar sounding names, has disappeared like the mist in a brilliant sun.

America was quite a fearful place, where people not only spoke with a strange accent, but to my mind, spoke the most appalling English. I flew from Melbourne, Australia to Los Angeles, then on to San Francisco. In Los Angeles I thought I may have boarded the wrong plane back in Australia. Why, oh, why were all the signs in Spanish, a language I didn't speak, nor understand at all? I shook my head in disbelief and somehow managed to find my way to the correct gate for San Francisco. My excitement was quite palpable as I had flown out of a drizzly, wet Autumn Melbourne day to a sun-filled, sweet-smelling Spring day in the Northern Hemishere. I was greeted at the airport by the man I loved, who had filled most of the house with flowers to welcome me. Life was gong to be so perfect, in this land of the great bald eagle.

Anyone who migrates to another country permanently, knows that there will be hardship and adjustment. I was fully prepared for this (or thought I was) but I had never factored in that people wouldn't understand the way I spoke, nor me understand them. Surely this was a English speaking nation and there wouldn't be too many differences??? More than anything the grammatical incorrectness jarred me constantly. Nobody used adverbs at all!! Drive slow, walk quick - where was the -ly?? Things weren't broken, but broke, which conjured up a vision of a washing machine with no money......... People were having the funnest day, bestest dinners and a lunch date had been so fun. If it is possible for one's ears to hurt without an earache, mine did.

When it came to writing checks, I wanted to scratch out check and use a cheque, queues were lines, and a term like off of the freeway just sounded plain wrong. Phone calls were impossible to make because area codes changed every few miles, and not knowing the layout of where I was living, how could I know which area code belonged to a store or a person. This was well before the internet and Google, and The Yellow Pages only covered one's immediate area within the one area code. How would I even get a phone book with different area codes?? When asked how people were, they were good. I thought that referred to their character not health, and was totally confused, even though I assumed they were telling me they felt well.

And so the years passed as I assimilated, quite quickly, as it turns out. So many wonderful, generous people have entered my life here in the United States. I gained confidence in my driving on the "wrong" side of the road, obtained a GPS just for good measure, moved to a small town, just like in the movies, joined clubs of all kinds, and generally felt like a native. I drive slow, and every now and then, when I don't concentrate and someone asks me how I am, I say "I'm good!!". As yet I haven't driven off of the freeway, nor taken the glass off of the table, but I am sure that is only temporary and one day I will. My ears don't hurt any more and I believe it is totally because the American people are speaking better English than they did when I landed here. They are a wonderful people, these Americans. They welcome strangers and make them feel at home, always with a bright smile and a cheery "Have a nice day!".

This great land is my home now and I have a deep love for it. It has grown on me, enveloped me and treated me kindly as well as given me some of the most wonderful friends a person could ever hope to meet. At a time in the world when so many people like to criticize the US, I want to acknowledge my growing love, admiration and respect for a country I now call home.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What a strange title

The mid-morning sun pierced the lingering frost on the brilliant yellow wattle in my Australian garden. It was a cold, crisp, yet sunny day in May and the vibrant colors stood out against the brilliant blue of the sky. I was going to start a new life yet again, this time far across the Pacific, in the United States.

Eucalyptus trees, with their lovely yellow flowers, have always been a favorite of mine and I wondered if I would miss the heady, strong gum smell, mid-summer when the heat is oppressive and the cicadas are so loud one can hardly concentrate. It turns out that California is loaded with eucalyptus groves, the scent so reminiscent of Australia, but alas, no wattle flowers.

Yellow has always been a favorite color, perhaps because of the wattle, the green and gold worn by Aussie athletes, or perhaps because it is the color of amber - amber washed up on Latvian shores, where my heritage lies.

What an interesting journey my life has been, taking me more than two-thirds of the way around the world. The heritage of northern Europe so firmly ingrained in me by my parents, to the easy going lifestyle of Australia in the fifties and sixties. My childhood, my youth and early married life, the land with so many gum trees and wattle flowers certainly helped create the person I am today. But I wasn't done yet. The home of the bald eagle, the mighty United States, beckoned through a lover who became a husband. After more than twelve years, dual citizenship, and making so many new and wonderful friends, I feel part of the US as well. In this blog I want to try to capture who I am, why I think the way I do and how being a product of three different cultures has changed my life and my thinking.

Maybe I just want to know the meaning of life, the need to strive and achieve, live as many adventures as possible, to laugh, cry and share all this with my family and my friends, but most of all, to be true and faithful to myself and my beliefs, incorporating all the lessons learned from the land of amber, the land of the wattle tree and the land of the great bald eagle.