Touching children’s hearts

Touching children's hearts

My first reading close to my Swiss hometown: all 30 chairs at the Bistro Bechandra in Elgg were taken.

What are the most touching moments during the readings of children’s books?

My very special moments are when small girls and boys start telling things like about a cat, who came to their house, who did this and that and how that felt or like today, how a small boy told a long, long story with plenty of unimportant details about moving and so on in order to reveal at the end how it was that the cat purred.

It is amazing to realize that my story about the boy Leonard and the cat named Loulou resonates with children.

But not only with children… Another touching moment was when an adult told me at my very first reading that my story reminded her so much of her beloved dog from childhood that she was moved to tears. Or one colleague bought my story because when he was a kid, his cat always walked him to school as Loulou does with Leonard in my story.

Today, at my first reading close to my Swiss hometown Winterthur, I didn’t expect a big audience. Fifteen minutes before the start, half of the restaurant was full of joyful, small and big children and even elderly people, and at the start, all 30 chairs were taken.

What a moment to stand in front of this big audience and to see all these open eyes and minds to listen to me!

I’ve been reading stories to children since many years. My two boys, now 13 and 15 and in puberty, listened to me every night. We read together so many books, we read all books written by Astrid Lindgren. We travelled with Jim Knopf and Lukas, the train conductor. We suffered with the figures of Brother Grimm, and when we didn’t have a book at our hands, I started inventing stories about an elephant who was too big because he loved eating, and how many times, my boys told me to continue the story about Frederic, the elephant.

Reading to a big audience like today is completely different. It is strange because I am not that close to the children and I cannot feel exactly how they perceive the story. That’s why I love to ask questions in between in order be able to hear what they have understood and what they have been thinking of it.

One thing I was reassured of today: Animals like cats and dogs have such a big impact on people’s lives.

It gives so much color to my life with my two sons. Besides, our cat story only started five years ago with two cats. Then, Loulou joined us, gave birth to four babies. We kept two of them. Meanwhile, we only have three cats because one of the babies decided to stay at the neighbor’s house. I could tell so many stories about our cats, how they disappeared, how we found them again, how many dead mice, but even more living mice had visited us, and how many of them, I had to catch. Funny moments, I can tell!

The sequel to the first book won’t talk about mice but will be the story about «Leonard and Lea», and there will be a dog playing a big role together with the cat Loulou. The story is already complete in my mind, and more than three-quarter of it written down. As soon as I have some quiet moments without running after mice, I will get it finished.

Encouraging people to write their books

Encouraging people to write their books

My first meeting with over 30 Swiss female writers gave me a lot of inspiration.

I’ve been writing since I am 12 or 13. I filled up many journals with my thoughts, and I always dreamt of writing a book. But, and this is something which I discovered this very year, I was scared of publishing my thoughts, because people would judge me, and I did not stand this idea of putting myself in a public place and giving others the chance to put me down.

I was writing a lot as a journalist for newspapers and magazines some years ago. But this wasn’t that difficult for me because I was writing about other people’s opinions and I did not have to expose myself too much.

Publishing my first book, a children’s book called «Leonard and Loulou» this spring, gave me such a great pleasure and self-confidence. Of course, I was very skeptical at the beginning because again, I was afraid of other people’s judgment. Getting more and more nice feedbacks to the story about a boy and a cat, touching people’s heart when doing my reading, I started believing more and more in my capacity in writing. And, yes, there will be a follow-up to the first book, a second one with the title «Leonard and Lea» which will be published in 2019.

A wonderful moment and very reassuring had also been when I discussed with the New Yorker publishing house, Morgan James, about how my book will be printed and sold in July 2019 in the States, in England and in Australia. I got so many compliments by the editor board for the story and the book itself. It might sound crazy, but I couldn’t believe that I had created this book when I heard them talking about it. Honestly, I got goose pumps when I read the description of my book written by their marketing department because it sounded so great.

This book is also the starting point of my new business which is to help people to write their books, to give them the confidence they might be lacking of as I did and to get them to this wonderful moment in their lives where they open the first page of their printed book or published e-Book and they feel overwhelmed and have goose pumps.

I want to encourage people to write what they want to share with the world. I want to help women and men not to hold back their stories, their experiences and their knowledge, because it is so amazing what I receive when I dared to share my story: a great assurance of myself that there is a sense in being on this planet, and there is a mission I am asked to fulfill: helping others to write their books. It might sound strange to some of you, but I don’t know how may times I was willing to leave this world because I didn’t see any sense of being here any more. This could be the story of a book for adults I will be writing some day. We will see.

I am very grateful for having met wonderful, inspiring business coaches in the last 12 months, who empowered me to take action, among them are Kane and Alessia Minkus, Kevin Paetz and Michelle Masters. Thank you so much for your guidance and encouragement and thanks as well for this amazing community I met through you.

My first children’s book is born


My first children's book is born

My friends are very supportive. They all are very fond of «Leonard and Loulou». Many thanks!

Publishing a book is like being pregnant and giving birth to a child. “Leonard and Loulou”, my first children’s book, is like a child who is taking me on a journey I never thought it would exist.

I had sent the German manuscript to several publishing houses in Switzerland, and guess, nobody wanted to take it. I was sad at the time I got these answers. Today, I am happy that it worked out for me like that.

End of October 2017, I decided to put the book on the Swiss crowd founding platform called wemakeit to raise some money to print the book in Switzerland. And I was so excited to see how the money came in because 34 of my dear friends decided to support me. Thanks so much again.

“3000 Swiss Francs should do it to print some hundred of copies of my book”, I thought. To find a printing office took me a long time. I asked at least 10 printing offices to get an offer. I always wanted to have a nice hard cover with a solid binding because the book should be resistant to a lot of hands to be touched by and to get handed over to the next generation.  How I love my children’s books, which I looked at as a child and I could look at again with my two boys now!

As a multicultural being, having studied French, English and German, I wanted to start with the book in three languages. Again, my friends are so wonderful. They translated the story into English (Marlyse Treichler) and French (Jacques Roch, the father of my two boys), and another friend (Cornelia Schmidt), who has her own translation office (I can give you her address because she’s got no website), lectured it. Thanks a lot to you all!

The very beautiful layout was made up by my neighbor, Adrian Ochsner and Printed Matter. Thanks, Adrian!  You may ask him for editing your book.  But at the moment, he loves doing some big construction works, he is driving construction machines and will be having time for graphic design again in about one year. That’s what he told me when he was devotedly repairing his newly-bought old tractor the other day.

Last but not least, also many thanks to my friend Kiril Charov (Swiss-Bulgarian doctor and artist) who found the great Bulgarian illustrator Teodora Dimitrova. She invented the main characters, my boy Léonard and our cat Loulou according to the pictures she got from us. Thanks to her, the book has been published. Before, Kiril had found another illustrator who didn’t fit at all to the story, and I nearly stopped my project to publish the story because I couldn’t imagine the book with other illustrations than they are now.

And the picture shows the wonderful action launched by my friend Dave Hertig (the big Swiss expert for Content Marketing Services) when he interviewed me in Zurich at his event, and half of the participants wanted to have my book.

You can order “Leonard and Loulou” as a hard copy by sending me an e-mail or you can buy it as an eBook at Amazon or iBooks.

My latest and craziest idea is to bring the book into the Chinese market. Chinese people are very fond of Heidi and a lot of Swiss products. And I already see “Leonard and Loulou” in front of my inner eyes in Chinese. I let you know when this idea will be starting to fly.

Confidence

 

I feel so amazed, when I look at my nearly one-year-old cat. This young cat is lying on our sofa without having any fear. The world could go under, but this cat is confident. It feels protected by us humans. Did I ever feel like this in my life? I would say no.

Since years I’ve been looking for confidence, feeling at home and protected.

This small cat has reached what I’ve been looking for years. How possible?

Many people tell that animals teach us a lot of things. This might be true. I didn’t believe it. I might be wrong.

Since years I’m looking for being at home where I am at home.

Since years I’m trying to be confident.

Since years I’m trying to be confident in what I am.

Since year I’m struggling.

And this small cat shows me how easy it is.

Just let you go.

Be confident.

Don’t bother.

All the beings around you will be taking care of you.

Just let you go.

The most difficult thing.

For me.

How about you?

Fill up energy

Fill up energy

Content Day_swissmadestory.ch

 

I didn’t want to go the Content Production Day by Dave Hertig in Zurich. I was afraid of meeting all the successful Content Managers and feeling very insignificant.

Fortunately, I didn’t listen to my feelings but to my intellect. I got so much energy talking to this group of people, all being on their road to contribute some interesting messages to the Swiss population.

I learnt as well how important it is to continue the way once started even if it doesn’t seem getting “successful”. Sometimes or very often, it takes time. One cannot earn the fruits of his work within weeks or months. Sometimes, it takes years.

And another thing: One has to be oneself, do what he’s best at and find his personal style. Then, people will be fond of him because of his authentic being.

What do I need to become authentic? It’s courage. I need a big portion of courage to pursue the road I took a few months or years ago. Failures – being financially or emotionally – are part of the road.

So, what do I conclude of the last Content Production Day?

Networking, sharing ideas, talking about one’s experiences helps. A lot.

I didn’t feel any more insignificant at the end of the day. I felt strong to follow the road I’ve started. And this is good. Very good, so. Thanks, Dave.


Gerry’s Bar

Gerrysbar_swissmadestory.ch

 

Listening helps

He lives around the corner, and he told my boys how to make pizza on a grey Sunday afternoon two years ago. Gerry, the owner of Gerry’s Bar and the manager of the Italian restaurant, is a real Italian with a real wide-open heart.

I knew I should talk to him. But when I stopped by, he told me that he engaged a young man for his website the night before. I was too late.

But good stories always start at a negative point. Three weeks later, I was the one to re-design his website and to shoot his new front picture.

How come, you may ask?

I was on the right time at the right place and talked to the right person. Because Gerry’s young daughter is the head of the marketing of this restaurant, and she has to deal daily with the website.

The point of this story: Listening, talking and being alert helps a lot.

When I sat with Gerry’s young daughter at that grey afternoon in their restaurant, I didn’t know how I’d manage to convince them to be the person they needed. But I did it. Doing nothing but listening.

 

Why not?

Grandmother_www.swissmadestory.ch

 

Why not?

She’s 87 years old, our remarkable grandmother, living in Geneva in her tiny apartment.

“Do you play Beaver Gang with me”, asked Big Boy.

“Well, I’ve no idea what this is”, said Grandmother. “But, why not!”

Big Boy explained the game to her. Very quickly like a fast train. One could hardly follow. They started. She didn’t know what to do, but she kept on, always smiling.

“Now, you have to look at this card and exchange it with this one”, Big Boy tried to help, with a big smile on his face, too. Little Boy followed, amused as well.

She didn’t give up, played until the very end of the game. Big and Little Boy contributed their part to the successful ending.

“What a funny game”, Grandmother concluded, although she didn’t understand all.

The Boys wouldn’t have noticed what Grandmother has told me: It’s worth to say more “why not” instead of “no”.

 


 

Relationship

Cat harmony_swissmadestory

Relationship

It takes quite a while to get along.
When I think of the two cats, it took four months until I could take this picture just two days ago.
They didn’t like each other very much at the beginning.

Couldn’t it be the same with humans?
It doesn’t have to be something like a firework while coming across a new person – at school, at work, in courses, with new neighbors.
It could take time, a lot of time,
Days, weeks, months, and years.
Do I have this time?
Am I patient enough?
Can I wait until I get the permission to enter the new person’s territory – slowly, but steadily?

The two cats showed me: it works.

 

 


 

Looking for men

Looking for men_www.esthersviewpoint.com

 

It was a hot Summer Sunday afternoon. I was sitting at this place, looking at the lake and the mountains.

I didn’t have a boyfriend, but I wished to have one. I tried to read a very intelligent book and to have a very intellectual expression on my face.

I didn’t concentrate too much on my book; I was spying to discover a single man, looking as well very intelligent and very intellectual.

It was one of these five hundred Sundays. I felt very lonely.

It never happened: this chance encounter.

I finished my studies: with brilliant results. I had a lot of interesting discussions with my professors.

A male counterpart at my age came to see me from time to time – but only in my dreams.

Conversation between brothers: Scene 15

Conversation between brothers 15_www.esthersviewpoint.com

5.12 p.m. after school

Big boy:         “Why are you so late from school?”

Little boy:     “Am I late?”

Big boy:         “It’s 10 past 5 and your school finished at 4.20.”

Little boy:     “No, it was 4.30.”

Big boy:         “No. It’s always 4.20.”

Little boy:     “Okay… I had to walk back to get my bike.”

Big boy:         “But to walk back takes me five minutes.”

Little boy:     “But I didn’t walk fast.”

Big boy:         “You played games on the phone with your friend.”

Little boy:     “No…”

Big boy:         “Come on. Or you’ve played foot with your other friend.”

Little boy:     “No… I was alone walking back.”

Big boy:         “I don’t believe you.”

Little boy:     “Leave me now…”

Big boy:         “So, tell me what you’ve been doing.”

Little boy:     “I told you.”

Big boy:         “You don’t need 50 minutes…”

Little boy:     “Hmmm…”

Big boy:         “I’m sure you played games…”

Mom:             “Stop…! Please!”

 

Conversation between brothers: Scene 1

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Bathroom at 6.45 a.m.: 

Big boy:          “Why do you look at me this way?”

Little boy:      “What’s the problem?”

Big boy:          “Stop starring at me.”

Little boy:      “Did you get up with the wrong foot?”

Big boy:          “You look terrible today.”

Little boy:      “You’re in such a bad mood.”

Big boy:          “I was in good mood before I met you.”

Little boy:      “I don’t believe you. You started this.”

Big boy:          “You don’t know what you’re talking about. Get your hair brushed.”

Little boy:      “Leave me in peace.”

Big boy:          “Your hair looks awful. Didn’t you look in the mirror.”

Little boy:      “Get out of the bathroom. You’re disturbing me.”

Big boy:          “You’re disturbing me. I was in first. You have to leave.”

Little boy:      “Oh, you’re in such a bad mood.”

Big boy:          “Leave me in peace. Otherwise I show you the way out.”

Little boy:      “Let me go. Don’t touch me.”

Big boy:          “It is your fault. You started all this.”

Little boy:      “Shall I show you who is the stronger of us two?”

Big boy:          “Stop beating me.”

Little boy:      “It is your fault.”

Big boy:          “No, it is all your fault.”

Little boy:      “No… ”

Big boy:          “For sure. Yours…”

Mother:          “Stoppppppp! Come on… Breakfast is ready!”
 
 

Jealousy

Sunny boy_www.esthersviewpoint.com

 
 
Little boy is a very sunny, caring and clever kid, and his self-confidence is big. I often tell him how great he is.

For example, during his violin lesson he is talking without fear telling his teacher why it has been difficult to rehearse, why it has been easy to play this way and why he is excited about this piece and what he would like to play and what he doesn’t like and so on and so on.

It isn’t easy to cope with a child like this. His violin teacher as well as one of his schoolteachers is very fond of him and his attitude. His second schoolteacher can’t cope with him.

Little boy told me once: “I’ve got the impression that Mrs. B. doesn’t like me. Do you think I am wrong?” Unfortunately, I had to confirm his presumption because as I know Mrs. B. I am convinced that in her childhood she couldn’t be the child she wanted to be and she didn’t get the necessary acknowledgement by her parents.

Seeing little boy with all his enthusiasm and positive radiation she must feel jealous of his entire positive attitude to life and people.

I feel sorry for my boy as well as for his teacher.

 

Meeting the old lady

Olga Charova_www.esthersviewpoint.com

 

She is an 86-year-old lady: proud and brilliant. Her body is fragile, but her mind is rather strong. Before I met Olga Charova, she has been lying in bed for three months, being very sick and loosing a lot of weight.

I didn’t expect her to leave her home and to come to the restaurant to meet, but she wanted it this way. I expected her feeling very shaky. The woman who has been working all her life as a dentist in Sofia showed me something else.

She was smiling, telling jokes and describing how she wants to go back soon to the court arguing with the lawyers to get back her property. Her eyes began to shine, and I was looking in a beautiful face.

I am so glad we met. She told me what it means to be young even if your body tells you the opposite, and she showed me how you can be strong in your mind even if you feel weak in your bones.

 

Attraction

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Clouds are like humans or humans are like clouds. Some are attracting each other like in the picture and some try to stay away from each other.

Today, my younger boy and me met a doctor at the children hospital and felt both the same way very attracted to this young woman. She explained to my boy how they would be doing the anesthesia when he will be operated in two days.

She did this in a simple way, very empathetic, looking and talking to the kid as an adult. And my boy smiled and opened his mind and felt very at ease.

“What a friendly person”, we both said when we left her room.

It has been a very short meeting. But my boy won’t forget it. She even taught him how to listen to his own heart beating.

Attraction is a very mysterious thing. It just happens between humans, very subtly and unintentionally.

 
 

Playing myself

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My kid played the role of the Puss in the boots. It is a wonderful fairy tale about having nothing and getting everything. The only condition is to play well your role.

Well, I admit this is a rather simple interpretation of the story. But it seems to fit to a program I encountered rather often in life.

It is important how I play my role. The better I play the more I get. But playing well means to me playing my own role and not the one expected by my parents, teachers, superiors, colleagues, partner or my children.

And this is the most difficult. Being connected to the person I am and to what I am feeling isn’t easy to play in a big theatre like our world.

Sometimes, I’d prefer to be my cat lying on my sofa all day long and being myself during doing nothing.

 
 

Real friends

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We didn’t have a lot of space in our friend’s kitchen because it was their living and sleeping room at the same time. But it felt extremely cozy and my boys loved it.

Nobody’s kitchen tasted better than Karma’s. Was it because the preparation and cooking took hours while we were talking, playing games, joking, laughing or singing?

We wouldn’t like to spend so much time on such a tiny space with our family. We’d very quickly get on our nerves.

It is wonderful with friends. You can choose them yourself and decide how much time you’d like to share with them.

And real friends don’t care either whether you live thousands of miles across the ocean. And they aren’t upset when you don’t call them every week.

 
 

Too many pictures

Myself_www.esthersviewpoint.com

 

I see myself from the outside; I see myself from the inside.

I am standing in between.

It isn’t me what I see. I am different.

You look at me and you recognize me.

I am trying the same thing: I would like to recognize me.

But I always get a different picture.

I’d like to be like you: I wished I could see me as you see me.

In one clear picture.

Otherwise, it is so confusing.

 
 

Big picture with holes

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Is it better to be concentrated on the moment and the details in life? Or is it worthwhile to have the big picture in mind?

When I see the big picture, I see all the details which aren’t the way I would like to have them to be. It is like a Swiss cheese landscape with holes.

When I try to concentrate on the moments in life, I am stuck to the details which are annoying me by their imperfection.

So, what is the best way to look at things?

I guess it needs a solution in between.

Difficult.
 

 

A long tightrope walk

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Being a member of a society, being part of a team at work, being a member of a family, being a tiny part of a bigger organization means adapting oneself to the others.

If I don’t feel like doing it, the sooner or later I get the information, I am not accepted by the group.

But where is the line between being different and adjusting to the rest? To which extent I am aloud to think, to talk, and to act differently?

Sometimes, it is difficult to find the right amount of being different.

Sometimes, it is easy to adjust.

It needs courage to be oneself and different than the others; it is like a tightrope walk.

If it is worthwhile, one hardly finds out during lifetime.

 
 

Caring

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Two days on this Indian train. An exciting journey from New Delhi to Kerala.

So many different people, old and young ones, talkative and silent people.

Being busy with themselves or interested in getting to know others.

The most touching picture I took with me was this flower garland. Someone fixed it to protect the travellers and to wish them a safe trip.

It is just one of these multiple beautiful rituals in India of caring, blessing, doing good to their beloved ones.

 
 

Instruction manual for life

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There is this little smile, shy but secured because of the glass wall in-between.

It is like her parents are protecting her fragile childhood.

So, this little Indian girl can grow and ripe and getting prepared for the future.

The glass wall will be disappearing more and more. She will get into contact with classmates, teachers, neighbors, and her parent’s friends.

More and more, she will get responsible for protecting herself of displeasing things and people. Nobody will be able to do this for her.

One can hope, that her parents will provide her an elaborate instruction manual for life.

If not, I know how it feels. One has to find out so many things by oneself, and it will be an agitated journey.

 

The art of being creative

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Aren’t they wonderful?

Three pieces of art.

But what is art? When it hangs or stands in the museum? Or when it is exposed to the public in a school building?

Being an artist is another discussion. Where does “being an artist” begin? When someone dresses, behaves like an artist? When someone creates an artificial piece of shit and sells it as art?

Being creative means to me transforming something obvious into something different.

Thinking can be creative, too.

I am thinking I am an elephant or a tree. I can feel the thick thin or the deep root, and it feels great handling difficult situations.

 
 

Time stands still

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It is a rainy day; school is off. The kids are playing, but not playing together; rehearsing a own play to invite their mothers to come and see.

They close the shutters because there has to be special light. They organize popcorn and syrup. They write an invitation card for theirs mums; they even create a form, which has to be personally signed by the invitees.

It is amazing how creative children can be. They give themselves names like Max or Alina instead of Leonard or Ellie.

In the play, they talk to each other as if they were adults.

It is wonderful to be part of this play and even more as spectators.

Time stands still.

Memories of the own childhood pass. It also has been a rainy day.

The three kids laugh and take me back to their play.

In thirty years, this moment will be part of their memories.

 
 

Smiling colors

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There are colors everywhere in India. I love it and I often find color combinations, which I had never dreamt of in Europe.

Wherever I walk, I’d love to take pictures and catch those colors. They are smiling at your face and you cannot do anything but smiling too.

Here in Europe, everything is grey in grey at the moment. It is wintertime. People dress in black, brown or grey; people look grey.

Sometimes, we smile a little bit. I try to, at least. Sometimes, someone smiles back. For a few seconds. And then, it becomes grey again.

Why don’t we live all in a colorful world?
 
 

No barriers

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They play around; they have big fun.

The little one grew up in India, the older one in Switzerland. The one speaks Tibetan, the other one Swiss German. Both know a few words in English but not much.

The little one is living in a boarding school in Dharamsala, the older goes to a Swiss public school. The older one has around stuffed animals in his bed, the little one cannot imagine what this means.

The little one doesn’t have any memories of his mother because she left him when he was two years old; the older one calls about fifty times a day “Mama”.

Maybe, the older one will be traveling again to India as an adult with his girl friend or his brother. Maybe, the little one will be living in the Tibetan community in New Deli and running a travel agency.

Both boys will be having friends and no barriers to share time with foreign people.

 
 

Stored pictures

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Three weeks in India, four weeks back in Switzerland: four weeks of school, homework, getting up at times when one likes to sleep. Tough times.

But there are all the memories of our traveling in India.

Memories of rich experiences, of living two days in an Indian train, meeting so many different people, playing games on the mobile phone and eating ice cream with an Indian boy.

Or joking around with Tenzing, our “big brother” in a small hut which serves as living room, kitchen and sleeping room at the same time.

It is great to have all these pictures stored in our memory when daily life is difficult to stand.

 
 

A lot of possibilities?

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Maybe this Indian boy hasn’t seen any Europeans before; maybe he is shy by nature. His father in his traditional dress took him to town to buy a few things.

Which world will he be living in in 20 years? Will it be the modern India? Will he be doing the bookkeeping or will he be developing computer programs for Swiss companies?

Or will he be living with his kids and with his wife in a small hut, with a water buffalo at the backyard?

Is it already defined how his future will be? Or are there many paths with a lot of junctions and side ways?

Many questions and many possible answers.

 
 

Too much sweets

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Tibetan medicine was completely new to me. But as the Tibetan doctor had his location just one floor below to our Tibetan hotel, we didn’t hesitate to ask for an appointment.

Little boy had a health problem, which could have easily turned into a big one without medication.

The Tibetan doctor helped very quickly and could even tell where this problem came from: too much sweets and unhealthy beverages. I was rather surprised because I tried already so hard to make little boy eat more fruits and vegetables.

I was even more surprised when he did a short check on me by pulse diagnosis and when he told me without knowing anything about me what were my major health problems.

But the most surprising was that little boy’s pain was gone after two days without antibiotics – just with these brown and black pills you see in the containers on the picture.

 
 

Flexible mind

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Three years ago, Ramesh was selling his beautiful stone carved statues and buddhas. One year later, he was running a yoga school, and this year, besides giving his daily yoga classes, he is earning money with a little resort in a marvelous garden – together with a friend.

For me, he symbolizes flexibility, and whatever he does, he does it with conviction, hundred fifty percent engagement and dedication.

One of his small bamboo huts was our home base in Varkala. It was simple but comfortable, including some lizards, cockroaches and ants.

Next year, Ramesh will expand his green resort. It shall include an Ayurveda treatment center. I am sure, he will keep on going his way, step by step, with the same dedication.

 

 

Five stars noodle soup

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The best noodle soup we ate at her place. The Tibetan lady had opened her restaurant in New Delhi a few months ago. She cooks while her son takes care of the talking with the people because she doesn’t speak English.

Unfortunately, she did not want me to take a picture of her in the kitchen. It would have been a fabulous one, with her in this beautiful dress standing at her cooking pots, surrounded by her co-workers, vegetable cutters and momo makers.

Her restaurant was a small, modest location. It didn’t really fit to her. But it felt cozy and comfortable. I am sure, as soon as she has owned enough money, she will renovate her place.

And her delicious noodle soup will be mentioned with five stars on various travel sites.

 
 

Never too old to travel

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I met her again: the 92 year-old Swiss lady Pia Steiner. She was still on the road on her own, and we had a nice India dinner and an even more interesting conversation together.

I could hardly believe that she still didn’t have any other companion than herself during her stay in India for seven weeks.

Her hearing keeps going badly but her mind is brilliantly awake. She had some small health problems a few days ago but she was taken care by an India doctor and the hotel staff.

After her visit to our village, the very sunny and holy place at the seaside, she went up into the cool mountainside because of the climate. This was another taxi ride of several hours alone.

I am amazed: she doesn’t feel fear. She believes that everything goes as it is meant to be.

Pia, keep going to be my inspiration!
 
 

Smiling

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There aren’t so many colors in Switzerland at the moment. It’s rather gloomy. But suddenly, you discover something, which pops up from the grey.

Someone had this wonderful idea to put more colors to a simple railway underpass.

It is as if someone smiles at me.

We all need an unexpected smile from time to time, which brings a short moment of warmth.

It takes nothing. But it gives a lot. It brings color into life.

 
 
 
 
 
 

From ancient times

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I saw her at the Navratri Festival in Bangalore and was fascinated by the expression on her face. It seemed to me as if she doesn’t have any age or even as if her mind comes from ancient times.

Sometimes, people don’t look like their age.

I met children who had a look like an old man or an old woman, and I listened to an old woman who spoke to me with a brilliant glance of a 14-year-old girl.

Why is this? I don’t believe in reincarnation but it might be an interesting explanation.

 
 

Rare species

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Sunday afternoon in the South Indian zoo of Trivandrum: there are hundreds of Indian families with their children and two Swiss boys with their mother.

We want to have a look at the lions, crocodiles, zebras, monkeys and their friends. All the local people have the same purpose.

But, as soon as they discover the two blond boys, the zoo animals completely lose their interest.

“Can we take a picture, please”, they keep on asking.

“Oh, I am glad”, says my small boy at the end of our visit, “that we won’t live in India all the time. It slightly gets on my nerves to pose and smile every five minutes.”

 

 

Perfect reflection

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Beauty comes from the heart.

This doesn’t work with a peacock. It is perfect by nature.

Human beings need more to reach this beauty. They are struggling with themselves, by aiming at being perfect. They get frustrated because it doesn’t work. You can see it in their faces and in their movements.

The more they are working on this, the less it works.

But suddenly, it happens that there are moments in life when everything seems perfect. It feels amazing. You’d like to freeze these moments for being eternal. This state of consciousness is written on your face and on your body.

There are sometimes other moments when you try hard to remember these amazing moments wishing them back, but you feel awful. You are even convinced that everybody recognizes it in your face.

You’d wish someone could stand in front of you telling you: you are beautiful; you are perfect. Believe it, feel it in your heart.

And it would come true, just like this peacock turned into this beautiful being.

 
 

Same same

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A cat is a cat, and a cat is eating, sleeping, walking and again eating, sleeping, walking. Nothing else. Right.

But a cat is more than that. A cat starts being in a relationship with the human being, which is taking care of it. At the beginning, the two, the cat and the human being, are connected on a low level. The more time they spend together the more they get involved.

Now, the one comes home, the other is standing behind the door and saying hello. Now, the one is making a tea, the other is coming to the kitchen to have a bite.

Isn’t it the same thing with a relationship between two human beings? Just a little bit more complicated?

In fact, the principle is exactly the same. The two beings are connected to each other and acting most of the time in correlation to each other. Right?

 
 

Walk a parrot

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I met Sri Swamiji in Mysore. Before I met him personally, everybody told me his or her own story about Swamiji. What I gathered was that ten or fifteen years ago, he was a good friend for a small group of people, Europeans and Indians as well. His ashram was a tiny place where everyone quickly felt at home.

Since then, things changed. Now, Sri Swamiji is being followed by hundreds of people, Indians as well as Europeans. Everybody wants to have a personal talk to him who prefers to talk to his parrots. That’s why he is walking around in public with a parrot on his shoulder. It is some way like other people walk a dog; interesting thing about a guru.

The elephant joke

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One morning, a waiter told us that there would be fifty elephants in Varkala. Okay, nice dream but we didn’t believe him. Later during the day, another India man said: “You will see fifty elephants tomorrow. What a lucky thing!” Must have been a joke in India to tell the tourists about upcoming crowds of elephants. We laughed. The next day, there were the elephants, not fifty but about thirty-five and I was rather scared. I was even more scared when I saw the animal police with their injection guns ready to shoot at any moment of panic alert. But nothing happened and this parade became one of the most unforgettable moments in India.

A heart of gold

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I don’t know his name but I know his heart being wide open when boys start crying. He is a Nepalese waiter who left his family to earn some money in India. He saw Little-boy slipping, falling down and breaking into pieces his small, freshly finished soap stone artwork. He saw Little-boys’ tears running down his face. He had a look at the broken artwork and disappeared. Ten minutes later, he came back with a small shopping bag, sat down at the restaurant table and fixed the stone with glue without words.

Different stories

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It was last year in Mysore in India. First, we were two Swiss ladies having a rest in the huge park of the Palace. Then, two Indian ladies asked us if we mind being taken with them in one picture. Then, we were four ladies smiling, half Indian, half Swiss. Then, all their Indian girlfriends joined us. Finally, we were 21 women standing in front of this old tree.

Image the same story in Switzerland: there are two Indian ladies sitting in front of the beautiful scenery of Lake of Zurich. Two Swiss ladies pass by and ask for a picture with the two Indian ladies. At the end, there are 19 Swiss ladies surrounding the two Indian ladies. But the story does not work this way around because of the different mentalities. I’d like I had sometimes a little bit more of this getting together spirit.

Convicted

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Joy is her name but also her motto. While other 15-year-old girls in India are studying at school, she is learning math, biology, geography and all the other school subjects at home and going from time to time to a special center to pass her exams. Meanwhile she is practicing her violin and piano around five hours a day – with a lot of pleasure and discipline. She lives with her parents and her older brother in a little house in Bangalore where she’s got her small room of a bed size under the roof. The ceiling is full of her fabulous drawings, another thing where she has great talent. This tiny universe under the roof and her amazing eager are touching. There aren’t many people who impressively follow their convictions as she does.

Connected

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It started fifteen year ago in India, with a very old yoga teacher in Kerala.

I got to the huge, open yoga hall where the birds were sitting on the roof and making a lot of noise; it was difficult to concentrate on the exercises. The yoga teacher took my hand and crossed my fingers mumbling an introduction ritual.

Day by day, it became my own ritual to get up at 6 o’clock, wandering to the yoga class, saying hello to the birds on the roof. And I started my journey to my inner self, a journey I am following since then.

Of one of these quiet moments with myself was taken this picture in Egypt. By a nine year old boy who felt exactly the connection between the sun, the sea and me.

Travelling alone in India at 92

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I won’t forget her, the Swiss lady, I met in India, 92 years old, after heart operations travelling totally on her own in India. I certainly won’t forget what she told me about death and dying. She should not be in India considering her heart problems. But if she were at home in her apartment in Berne having a stroke, she would be so much alone. In India, up to twenty people would run to take care of her. So, she prefers doing what she loved to do during all her life: travelling in India.

 
 
 
 

Happy childhood

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Remembering happy moments of childhood… a hard thing when you get older and when you aren’t born as a digital native. Fortunately, there are some pictures like this one from my two boys fooling around in the bath tube.