my private graveyard

In one of Cees Nootebooms novels he writes about all those names in address books...You note down names+ their temporary homes and carry them around like a strange collection of places and names. Nooteboom describes the addressbook as a graveyard and maybe he is right. I have a black addressbook. I bought it in Venice and I remember noting down some addresses outside of a pub in one of those narrow lanes. It was late at night and an angry neighbour poured water down on the street, on my friends, on me and on my notebook. When look in it now the people are so close that I can see their particular features right in front of me so I can nearly touch them. But of course most of them are far away and some friendships seem like an illusion or a fata morgana. I wonder how those people, who travel more than me manage to keep their marbles. And how will I cope with being a teacher; all those kids who will pass by each day...maybe I am too nostlagic and often I think I am also too conservative in the sense I want to keep, keep in touch.

But maybe it's just autumn and I just miss to call some friend and say "hey, why don't you come over, we have a tea/coffee/wine/beer and watch a 'Tatort'?"

Posted by steffi at 12:04 AM
Edited on: 2005-10-29 12:20 AM
Categories: misc


Dementors in Germany???

After ‚We need to talk about Kevin’ I was looking for a differnt book and decided to read the new Harry Potter. It is the usual cookie like reading. Very enjoyable and light(if not consumed in too large quantities). I like Rowlings style which often makes me smile when reading(when I read the first Potter I laughed out loud-). When I started with ‚The Half Blood Prince ’yesterday I found some interesting similarities. The Muggle prime minister is visited by a wizard polititian who informs him about the dangers of Lord Voldermort. He is also informed that the depression and bad mood in the country is actually caused by the Dementors, who have left Azkaban to join the dark Lord and who are currently breeding. This is responsible for the mist in the country and the dark athmosphere. Well, maybe the Dementors have settled in Germany, I had to think, because the description is how experienced Germany over the last year. Well, has Angela Merkel the power of Hermione Granger? Who could be a Harry Potter in Germany?

Posted by steffi at 11:41 PM
Categories: books


My attention was drawn to this book by an essay the author, Lionel Shriver had written for the Guardian. The title was ‚No kids please we are being selfish’. In this article she reflected on our western world in which many women and couples choose not to have any children. Her book ‚We need to talk about Kevin’ was mentioned. A couple of days later I heard an excerpt of it on the radio and bought it. Well, you can’t call it an easy read and one could state that this might not bet he rigth book to be read at the beginning of a teacher training. The novel is written in long letters, which eva Katchadourian writes to her estranged husband. She reflects on their marriage and their son, Kevin. Right from the start she had difficulties to engage emotionally with her son. He was a strange child and Eva tries to find the roots for what the nearlly 15-year old teenager did. In a well planned trap he kills seven of his fellow high-school students, a cafeteria worker and a teacher. She writes grippingly open and direct about her feelings and memories. Like a surgeon she doesn’t spare out anything and confronts her husband with her view of her sons development and psyche. Slowely the whole tragedy evolves and draws the reader into this family which tried to act normal untill the outbreak. Tough stuff! Read it!

Posted by steffi at 11:38 PM
Categories: books


Mermaids Tea Party

tea under the sea When I did my MA I had found a strange shell-shaped milk-jar and sugarbowl in a charity shop. It was so unusual and strange that I did not buy it at first, but at home regretted it. I called the charity shop to put it back it for me and made a friend go and get it. Last year in Japan I found three cups (scroll down) in a similar design and today I went to a car boot sale and found the tea-pot!!! Hurray! What I actually like about it is that it is not beautiful in the common sense, but strangely tactile and interesting. You feel fascinated and repelled at the same time. The pieces look like taken out of muddy water and I imagine some mermaids at the bottom of the sea having a little tea party...... Well, I can have my own little mermaids tea party now-

Posted by steffi at 5:23 PM
Edited on: 2005-10-23 5:26 PM
Categories: misc


suits me

Da ich ja auch über meine Erfahrungen an der Front/in der Schule schreiben möchte, muss ich so langsam beginnen auf Deutsch zu schreiben. Heute habe ich mein neues Leben wirklich begonnen: Ich habe mir ein Jackett gekauft. Mann. Das istn Act! Ich besitze drei Jacketts; eines habe ich zum Anlaß der Hochzeit meiner Cousine gekauft(eigentlich wollte ich ein Kleid meiner Oma tragen, aber mein Vater hat sich geweigert, mich auf der Hochzeit als seine Tochter zu identifizieren, wenn ich dieses Kleid tragen würde, das meine Oma mehrere Jahre zuvor zum Anlaß der Kommunion einer anderen Cousine trug). Das andere habe ich für die Hochzeit von Matt und Adele in England gekauft. Beide Jacketts hängen in Grabesruhe in meinem Kleiderschrank in Hassfurt(und werden um Weihnachten wiedererweckt werden, um mich für meine neue Aufgabe zu rüsten). Morgen gehe ich zum ersten mal in ‚meine 'neue' Schule. Dort werde ich meine ersten Lehrerfahrungen sammeln(ganz ohne Schultüte, aber quasi selbst verpackt) und da will man einen guten Eindruck machen, oder? Ich httbe mich für ein weiß-braunes Gewebe entschieden und nachdem ich mich über die kurzen Ärmel wunderte, klärte mich die nette Mitarbeiterin von Debenhams auf, dass ich die 'petite' Version anprobiert hatte. Nun ja, man kann mich schlecht als 'petite' bezeichnen. Als deutsche Germanin sah ich darin aus, wie eine besser gekleidete Vogelscheuche. Ich fühlte mich wieder an Japan erinnert, wo ich schon ganz augfgegeben hatte, überhaupt Kleidung anzuprobieren, da ich mich neben den zierlichen Japanerinnen meist wie eine ausgewachsene Elefantendame fühlte; meine Konfektionsgröße hätte in den meisten Läden für Bestürzung gesorgt. In England gehöre ich -zumindest, was die Körpergröße betrifft zum glücklichen Mittelmaß, das von der Stange tragen kann.

Posted by steffi at 9:14 PM
Categories: misc


There is always a there. A there where you could be as well. An alternative, a vanishing point, another possible life, you sometimes long for. Last saturday I got mail from the education authority in North-Rhine-Westphalia(?), which informed me that I was allocated to a teacher-training in Recklinghausen starting in february next year. The first thing I felt was a deep relief, that I am here in London. Recklinghausen is a blank space on my inner landscape not connected with anyone or anything. I would have been like a pot plant again transplanted in a different soil. And after the uncertainty of the last year I am not really ready for brand new places. London embraced me and I wonder how many people I actually do know here. And although I do not know how the techer training in Germany and especially in NRW really is, I feel that this ist he right place form e. We learn how to integrate multicultural issues into our lessons and more than anything else we are stimulated to inspire the pupils as well as ourselves. I am comfortable position to watch the developments of Germany under ist first female chancellor from the outside. And on a bad day, I migth dream of a quieter life in Recklinghausen...

Posted by steffi at 9:04 PM
Categories: places


The world's best places to live

According to an article in todays' Guardian the six best places to live are

1. Vancouver

2. Melbourne

3. Vienna(!!!)


5. Perth

6. Adelaide

Three Australian cities amongst the best places to live! WOW! London is on place 47. When I visited Melbourne and Adelaide I thougth they were good places, but best? Vienna is definately a good place, not so much because of exciting places, but more because of its 'Gemütlichkeit'.

Of course, my number 1 is London at the moment! And I will think about a further ranking...

Posted by steffi at 8:27 PM
Categories: places

worth while

I generally like to go to artists' talks and readings. It is interesting to see the person behind books and art-pieces. Well I had read about the scheduled talk with the Arte-Povera Icon Guiseppe Penone in TATE Modern already a while ago, but I did't book a place. I don't know why, maybe I was worried thaTt I would be too tired, or had something else to do. Yesterday the talk took place and I thought, ok I want to go. All the ticktes were sold out by then, but there was the possibility to get returned tickets. And as usually: if something gets more difficult, you want it more! I went there, I waited for 30 minutes andI got in. Great. One feels kind of honoured.

But then. The room was poorly lit. The sound did not work properly (and this in TATE Modern!). Guiseppe Penone was interviewd by an English art historian, who obviously loved Penones work. Great. He introduced him not so much with biographical notes, but had chosen to read quotes from the artist from an early catalogue. You could see that he just loved this catalogue. But the reading! Oh dear. He mumbled, with obvious joy though, the quotes into his not exising beard. Thanks.The talk which followed was rather boring- which came quite unexpectadly. Dark Penone sat in a dark corner and you could feel some of his passion, but the way the talk was led, could have been a bed time story that makes sure you fall asleep, partly because of the bad sound. And this with Penones exciting works! Unbelievable! And then, when the sound worked more properly, the talk was accompanied by the breathing of the overweighted art historian. Maybe this wanted to underline Penones statements about breath as a sculpture?

Maybe it is better to get a catalogue next time!

Posted by steffi at 8:21 PM
Categories: misc