Saturday, May 15, 2021

April Love


#8: My superpower

Hard to believe that it is already the middle of May! I shouldn't be surprised, though - every year towards the end of the school year things tend to get crazy when April rolls around. Everybody seems to be in some kind of overdrive during those last two months. This year of course things got extra crazy with the return of our students to the campus in April. It required a lot of preparation, training for staff, new safety protocols and, of course, daily screenings. But it is so worth it - since the students have returned to campus (about half of them opted to come back for the remaining two months while the other half preferred to stay in distance learning) there is so much energy that you can feel at every corner of the school. I hadn't realized how much I had missed the friendly teasing and joking of these young people.

The German School also was super busy since we're already planning the next school year. I'm not only a teacher there but also serve on the board where we do most of the planning. This spring I had offered a couple of extra classes that kept me busy. Even though the school year came to a close today, I am still teaching a summer class that will begin on Wednesday, but this one will only last four weeks. I do need a break after this very crazy year.

With all this school stuff going on I didn't have much time for anything else (except knitting and pottering around the garden), but at least I was able to participate in Susannah Conway's "April Love 2021" challenge on Instagram. While I didn't do it every day, I chose the prompts that spoke to me. For most of them I did not go out to take photos, but looked through my pictures. No worries, I'm not showing you all of them!

#7: Growing

On one of our fence posts we discovered this cicada that had just emerged from its shell and was growing into its final perfect self. I didn't even know that we have cicadas (only crickets), but when I did a research I found out to my surprise that there are 65 species of cicadas in Northern California. Aren't the wings just amazing?

#27: Stairs

Since I love to take photos of stairs, this prompt was an easy one. I chose the ancient worn out steps leading up to the chapter house in Wells Cathedral. These stairs have fascinated me since I saw them for the very first time back in the 80s. They are several centuries old and hundreds of feet have walked, skipped and jumped along them. I wish I knew some of the stories of the people who used to walk here.

#15: When I was small

Can you see that I am wearing Lederhosen? Both my brother and I wore them when we were small. They are simply indestrcutible and made my mother's life probably a little bit easier. My brother still wore Lederhosen when he was older while I started wearing dirndls even though we weren't living in a typical "dirndl area" (that is Bavaria). As a small child I was fearless and happy. I stayed like this during the elementary school years (grades 1-4), but it all changed when I started 5th grade.

#6: Life-changing book

This was not an easy prompt. However, after I had given it some consideration I have to say that this book definitely was a life changer for me. It inspired me to follow that "whisper" in my heart and to get away from the "no I can't" to "yes, I try". Without this book I would not have started blogging, which led me to write for Vision and Verb for five years together with women from Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Tanzania, Spain, Italy, Canada, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and the US; with most of them I'm still keeping in touch and some of them I met in person. I would not have opened my Etsy store (my first few customers were readers of my blog) and I certainly would not have taken a brush in my hand and started painting.

#25: Bear

Of course I was first thinking of a real bear or a teddy bear. But this bear - Lumibär - is like a member of our family. I bought him when the Geek and I were still dating (so it's older than our daughter). We were on the way to our favorite café in Tübingen to have breakfast when I discovered the bears in the window of a shop - not just one, but several and each in a different color. They do look like giant gummy bears. There was no price visible on any of them, so the Geek went inside to ask for it. After he told me I decided that we should first have breakfast and I could think about it. Over coffee and Müsli I came to the conclusion that I cannot live without a Lumibär. When we entered the shop the sales lady inside only asked "which one shall it be?". Of course it had to be the orange one. Lumibär moved to California with us and he is one of the things we pack when we prepare to evacuate (which has happened almost every year since 2017). He stands right at our front door and the kids in the neighborhood love him.

#26: I live here

Northern California has been my home for 20 years. I live in Sonoma County which to me is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It has mountains, vineyards, a big city close by (San Francisco), but its best feature is the coast. Here the Pacific Ocean does not have beaches with smooth white sand - our sand is gray and coarse, the water is freezing and way to dangerous to even think of swimming. There are steep cliffs and winding narrow roads. Many beaches are rocky and littered with driftwood and empty abalone shells. Often the coast is shrouded in more or less dense fog, that sometimes burns off by noon, sometimes not. The coast is windy and at least 20 degrees cooler than inland. It is a force of nature and simply fantastic.

One of the last prompts was "favorite person" - of course there wasn't only one for me. It has to be these two (this photo was taken in a pub in Kenmare, Ireland):


Elephant's Child said...

This is a totally heart-warming collection of photos.
Thank you so much.
I really miss the Vision and Verb posts - and the contributors.

Valerie-Jael said...

Wonderful photos! There's something special about worn steps! Stay safe, have a great week. Valerie

La Table De Nana said...

We just heard on the news that there will be an invasion of cicadas in the US in certain states..The ones emerging now were born in 2004..they resurface 17 yrs later to again procreate..Uncanny you posted this..That cute pic of you Little:)

pam nash said...

What beautiful photographs and wonderful descriptions. I enjoyed this very much. Thanks!

Barb said...

Carola, I was smiling all the way through your post! I love Lumi and those Cicada wings are amazing in their detail. But, my favorite is the photo of your smiling family. Glad all is well with you. Sounds like you are still very busy!

My name is Erika. said...

Beautiful photos. I also loved reading about the kids coming back to school and how you spoke of the energy level. I remember well exactly that, when we would have no kids days how quiet the building would be. Hope the end of your year goes smoothly.

Michelle said...

We are at the end of the school year here in Kentucky. I am the Reading Intervention teacher for my primary school and this is a crazy time. I am testing reading levels all while the students are trying to participate in fun activities! lol It will all be finished in a few days.

Lowcarb team member said...

You sound busy!
I do like the fabulous photographs you've shared here.

All the best Jan

Red Rose Alley said...

The cicada photo is incredible. Such detail in its wings. Nel used to hear the cicadas all the time at night when she lived in Georgia. The photo of the ocean is so pretty and peaceful. And I like that picture of you when you were small. It's those old photos that mean so much to us. The stairs photo is quite mysterious.


Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Carola, I enjoyed your photo takes on the April Love challenge. The stairs, emerging cicada (can't wait to see them here) and the final one of family were all great selections.

My name is Erika. said...

Thanks Carola for stopping by my blog and filling me in about Chinese and Japanese symbols. I didn't realize they represented syllables, but it makes so much sense. It was funny but when I visited Japan with the school I worked for (we visited a school in Japan for part of the trip), one of their English teachers became our guide. He was an American living in Japan, and he could speak fluently but could not read the language. He explained to us using the word symbols. But now I wonder if he actually knew. Thanks again for filling me in. It is so interesting to learn about languages around the world.

Tammie Lee said...

Lovely photos, all.
The stairs are so inviting, the light, the age.....
Lovely end of spring to you.

Magic Love Crow said...

What a beautiful, heart warming post! Truly loved all the photos and the stories behind them! The picture of you when you were younger, is so cute! Love your bear! Those wings on the cicada is amazing! WOW! The last photo is so precious! So happy you started blogging and went for it! Take it easy with all the schooling! Big Hugs!

Sr Crystal Mary said...

Your photos are great and the insect, magical...
Bless you.

Iris Flavia said...

My Big Niece is allowed to go to school next week and she´s so happy.
Love the chairs-pic especially. Never seen anything like that.
The Lederhosen!! My Brother had one too. The ants loved them. Gah. I had a dirndl from Vienna. Oh, we lived clichés.
The book sounds interesting. And love the Lumibär.
Oh. Not going for a swim would be hard for. I once had a Guiness. One. And needed to go home to sleep. Cute pic, though!