Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Beyond Creative Challenge

Dear Frederique,
thank you for showing me your world, for taking me beyond the surface of places and into the centre of them, and out of the centre and to the edges. Thank you for being angry and happy and sad. Thank you for watching the tiny polysteirine balls bounce down the bridge over the Seine while I fell in love with the Notre Dame, and thank you for making me watch them too, as they swirled and dived in the wind.
Love Mama

I've answered this challenge with this video, a collection of photographs about our teeny little trip overseas (Hong Kong, England, Paris, Helsinki), to one of my favourite songs. For the first time in my travels I found myself, instead of hungry for the world, hankering for the scents and sounds and comfort of home. Going away was an adventure, but it was also always a journey home. Travelling the world with someone who doesn't understand borders, whose grasp of language is wholly intuitive and instinctual, who doesn't have a grasp on multicultures or diversity, but thinks the whole world is a product of her own brain is a dizzying and frustrating experience, as well as utterly informative and awakening. It took me beyond the limits of my own patience, and to places I admit I never wanted to go as a mother, like crying hysterically with my child (both of us jet-lagged and over it) in the middle of Kensington High Street (or wherever the hell we were, being mildly lost was part of the over it-ness) or being bellowed at by a man in a green hat on a double decker bus when Fred threw a tantrum in the aisle and I sat down without her (after which I wrote in shaky angry writing in my diary: 'I hope the green hat man dies in Windermere with his pants around his ankles'.)

But it was while we were away that we developed a deeper rapport. I told Frederique about my ex-boyfriend, Tom, and she realised that I'd loved other men before Daddy. She learned about kissing and that women can get pregnant without wanting to be (er, which has nothing to do with my ex-boyfriend), we talked about god and death and angels. We visited the Princess Diana Memorial and she learned about the dark ending to a real Princess story. The memories I have, both the ones I treasure and the ones that make me flinch (I came very close to biting Fred once in the street in England, when she was kicking me, with one hand pinching my neck and the other flailing in my face while I was trying to carry her. Soon after I came back I learned a woman had been given a prison sentence for this very act, biting her son, in the UK), will shape the mother I am yet to be.

I was also so proud and amazed by her moxy, the way she would walk up to anyone and ask directions, or where the toilets were, the way she said Bonjour! to everyone she saw in France, and ran to intercept all babies in prams (because babies didn't care what language she spoke). We drove each other crazy but at the end of every day we lay in each others' arms and whispered loving words to each other and every morning we woke side by side.

Some basic "rules":

1. Be creative. You could share a story, an opinion, your experience, a motif, a poem, a picture, a short video, a call to action, or…you decide! The idea is to share something that represents a way to think “beyond” and make a difference in the world

2. Place a link on your response to this original post. You could also mention that this is all about raising awareness and funds for a microfinance project in the Philippines.

3. Verify your entry by commenting on this original post with a link to your response.


  1. you are such a caring mum.

    This gave me goosebumps.


  2. Anonymous9:11 AM

    Jeez, you've gone and made me all teary and thoughtful at 9am. Now how am I going to get any work done?

  3. That. Is. Beautiful. I have to say that a blog post has almost never made me cry, but that video did. (Just a little.) I loved the writing, but that blew me away. Wow.

    I want to bring my child overseas so badly now, too.

  4. this is so beautiful. looks like such a magical journey. was one of those pictures in the lake district?

  5. All the enchanted wood type ones were the lake district.