We are all Tragically Hip

As I begin writing this article I am sitting on my balcony in a small town not too far from Geneva, with a beautiful view of the Swiss alps. I am listening to The Hip – Ahead by a Century, probably too loud. I don’t care , I am feeling rebellious. Rebellious and nostalgic.

Rebellious and nostalgic and another feeling I can’t quite place.

Vulnerable?

This may come as a surprise to most Canadians, other than those who live or have many friends outside of Canada. Most people in the “rest of the world” don’t actually know the Tragically Hip.

As a Canadian living over here in Europe, I was surprised by the announcement that Gord Downie had terminal cancer. But the second biggest surprise was when I started talking about it around me – “Did you hear about the lead singer of the Tragically Hip?!?!” I said, shocked.

Continue reading We are all Tragically Hip

I Did Not Go to the Women’s March

the-truth

Saturday, across the globe, people participated in Women’s Marches – this movement is not “just” for women, but for everyone. From Sydney, Australia to Vancouver, Canada, people gathered to march against intolerance, to take a stand for women’s rights, minority rights, rights for lesbian, gay, transgender people, rights for disabled people, rights for immigrants and refugees.

And to stand up for Truth . With a capital T. Because apparently that’s up for grabs now.

Here in Geneva,  Switzerland,  a march was organised.  But there was one minor technical problem: I had to work.

I wanted to march.

My friends were going. Tons of people were going. Men, women and children were travelling in to Geneva from as far as Zurich to participate.

But…  I was stuck at the other end of the city at work.

Ok,  I thought, maybe I could still make it happen. I am ever the optimist, after all.

I calculated that if I was replaced a bit early for my lunch break I could maybe – just maybe get to downtown Geneva by bus, have about 10 minutes to spend there, and then race back.

I had made a sign,  bought a sandwich to eat on the ride,  got bus change ready.

But fate was against me. I was replaced a measly 2 and a half minutes early.  I raced outside,  heart pounding,  and watched the bus drive off. Not even close.

I could have screamed.  Possibly,  I did actually let out a couple choice words.  Not sure if it was in my head or actually spoken.  I did stomp my foot.

Feeling dejected,  hopeless,  excluded,  frustrated,  angry and sad,  I img-20170121-wa0005-2went back inside.

Trying to make the best of it, I took a pathetic little photo of myself with my sign in the hallway at work and texted it to my various friends at the march.

They texted back with their amazing signs and photos of the thousands of people walking across the bridge downtown Geneva.

To not be there for the actual march was heartbreaking.

I wanted to be there. I planned to be there. But I wasn’t there.

And yet.

I was there.

Because “there” is where we are when we decide to take action, to speak up, to stand together, to step forward into this new world of activism that has opened up before us.

People around the world stepped forward together Saturday, and I was with them.

The incredible number of people who participated is impressive. Some of the aerial footage is stunning – and inspiring.

Later that day my husband and I watched the news come in with reports of the massive rallies around the world. And my husband said simply: “This makes me feel better.”

“Oh really”, I asked. “How? I mean, about what?”

“The world. The future,” he said simply.

We were there. We are there.

And we’re not turning back now.

Mom’s Words of Wisdom to a Grown Up Child

A few pearls of wisdom from a mom watching her son move out and far away…

walkingaway

  1. Take care of your body. Eat vegetables. Use sunscreen. Drive defensively. Drink moderately. In other words, please take good care of this person that I have protected for the past 20 years!
  2. Take care of your brain. Eat vegetables. Read books. Keep learning. Drink moderately. In other words, please take good care of this person you have created for the past 20 years!
  3. Don’t let anyone change who you are.
  4. Life is long. You don’t have to get everything done right away, or accomplish everything quickly. What goes around comes around -eventually, the good guys win and the bad guys learn – it just takes time and patience.
  5. Life is short. Don’t waste your time on people or things that drag you down, that hurt you, that stop you from being happy.
  6. Don’t let anyone make up your mind. You don’t have to think like everyone else. The world’s greatest minds have often been independant thinkers with their own ideas, who didn’t allow themselves to be drawn in to a way of thinking just because it was popular. Be careful of small minded people.
  7. The world is huge. Many people have not had the chance to see the world like you, to experience 4 cultures, live on 2 continents, to be immersed in 4 languages, and to travel extensively. It is possible you will encounter people who live in their small corner of the world and think they know everything. They don’t. You don’t.
  8. The world is small. The theory states all people in the world are linked by 6 degrees of separation only. No matter how far you travel, you will never really be away from home, because you are always home.
  9. Avoid intolerant people. It is always easier to judge an entire group than to try to understand. Very few arguments can be won against someone who has made up their mind to be racist, sexist, homophobic or generally prejudiced. You cannot convince someone with words. But you can win by keeping your own heart and mind open and not letting generalizations influence how you see others.
  10. Choose love. This sounds silly but it’s the truth. If you can’t decide betwen two options, choose whatever is kinder, more tolerant, nicer, more fun, or will lead to more happiness.