Food for thought

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I’m really behind in writing about things that have been of interest to me over the last few weeks. I had a really bad cold again (yes, my third illness since moving to Germany) which totally depleted my energy. I’ve also been working on some behind the scenes work for Green Renters as we are making our website and website content open source. I’ve also been spending time with new friends in various capacities: visiting Dawanda craft market here in Leipzig (the Etsy of Europe), going out for drinks, enjoying Guy Fawkes Day/ Bonfire night with a bunch of English expats and students, having friends over for dinner and also working on recipes, writing….

I got my 5 year residence permit (AUSFENTHALTSKARTE) to live, work, study etc. here in Deutschland. As I am married to a UK citizen, we both have full freedom of movement under the EU laws. That said, if I wanted to get a job here in Leipzig, without better Deutsch, it is almost impossible. There’s a lot of Europeans in Leipzig looking for work as the reality is that it is very hard to work without fluent language skills. It’s something I took for granted in Australia, despite working with International students in Tafe and Universities for ten years and another seven years working with refugees and other migrants through Green Renters.

In Australia when I worked with Councils or government authorities for example, translated documents and translators were plentiful. I even did a few workshops with folks from different countries and thus 3 interpreters (difficult at best). Leipzig is not like this. Almost everything is in Deutsch without translation. I am not trying to complain about this, more to provide a contrast. When I visit the Auslander officer (Foreigners office) I can only speak Deutsch, no one (at least willingly) speaks english.  But I managed fine in Deutsch this time without Chris having to help which was a bit of a triumph for me. I also recognise more words when I talk to people and overhear other people’s conversations. It’s little things that make the difference and are the reward for getting up early each weekday morning to go to Deutsch schule.

This sign at the laundromat always amuses me.

A few things new and old which have attracted my attention of late:

A Letter to my 22 year old self, Erika Leibrandt, Elephant Journal.

Unbearable Whiteness of Gone Girls, Amanda Ann Klein, Avidly. I enjoyed reading Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girls and I liked the twist so  found this very interesting.

I love the idea of an articles club.
I’ve been following the Kathleen Hale case with interest. Kathleen Hale is an author who wrote an article in The Guardian about perceived cyber bullying by a reader who gave her book a negative review initially on Good Reads advising others to not read the novel.  Her response after online conversations was to track down the reader to their workplace and home address and demand a response in person. It’s a complex issue. At first I felt a bit sorry for her. As someone who has worked in arenas where I ‘put myself out there’ in public forms, it is easy for people to criticise your efforts from behind a computer, anonymous without recourse.  But  I also consider that I myself am writing a novel and I expect that not everyone will like it. People are open to criticise, this is reality. But I read a bit more like this article:

Author stalks anonymous blogger who gave her a one star Review, Erin Gloria Ryan, Jezebel

and On the Importance of Pseudonymous Activity, Dear Author. I also read this article with interest Authors behaving badly, how I pissed off legions of Emily Griffen fans, CoreyAnn. I have read a couple of Emily Griffen books and whilst they are well written, I find the characters very unlikeable!

The problem with thug cuisine, Bryan Terry, CNN

Answer Sheet: Teacher spends two days as a student as it shocked what she learns, Valerie Strauss, Washington Post

I’ve been meaning to mention  the world of Haley Morris Cafiero for a while:

For a year, Haley took photographs of strangers responses to her in public spaces. As someone who is bigger than they used to be, this work definitely resonates as many see you either as invisible or an object of amusement. You can read more at Pictures of people who mock me, Haley Morris Cafiero, Salon.


Loving these works by Stephen Baker

Lastly one of my favourite ads from a little while ago

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