Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Garden of Märchen

Dear Dan,

Once upon a summer day

We walked upon stony path

It took us hither and tither

Among windy trees

Tall satyr

Royalty

A curious garden

Filled with märchen 

Stories.

Stories from Grimm

Stories from family

Stories we will tell

Stories we are writing now

Stories that will live on

Long past memories of being here

Surpass us

The power of stories

Told for now and ever

Today's story is that of stories

Here it goes...

We began the day after a really nice and needed rest. We headed out to see an amazing palace in Ludwigsburg. It blew my mind the extravagance in which some people lived, live, and will continue to live. A few things struck me while we there.



Our companions and hosts are so incredibly sweet. They're filled with love and kindness. And a sense of playfulness I hope we can continue to strive for and foster in us. I loved spending the day with them!




The palace was so big! And patriarchy needs to die. This king dude, like so many kingly and non-kingly dudes, had one whole wing of the palace to himself. One for his wife, and one section for his "other activities" and mistresses. We walked over a kilometer today and that was not even the whole palace! 



History. So much has happened before us and so much is bound to happen after. Our footprint is all we get to control. I'm glad to be taking steps with you. I love being in a place where so much history has happened. I looked at all those tall beautiful portraits of those people, and like in the Van Gogh museum, I wondered, "What must this person be thinking while they were getting painted?" "Did they need to fart or were they getting sleepy?" 

Surrounded by fairies and satyrs.



The boy on the tour with us. The tween boy who was on the tour with us. I was sure he was on the autism spectrum and in addition to that was behaving as though he was very sensory deprived. I wondered about him, his Mamma he was with who seemed to pay no attention to him, and why he wanted to walk so close to us. 

Our tour guide. She seemed like a very proficient guide and apart from 2 sentences in English, very stoically told Emma aunty that we came to a German museum in Germany - why did we expect English? Good to know! 

Märchengarten. A land of stories and fairy tales. I am not kidding - we need to bring our kids back here. I have been to a few places with children now in the US (especially Colorado), thanks to my job as a teacher and the amazing Elizabeth who plans the most supremely thoughtful outdoor and experiential learning experiences for children. Apart from my field trips with Elizabeth, I haven't seen the kind of ingenuity and kid-friendliness we have seen here in Germany (and Norway) in the States. The way steps are deigned with a ramp for strollers. Bathrooms are bigger to take strollers in with you. Strollers are made to climb mountains. Today, we even saw a stroller with a little ramp in front for another kid to stand on and get a ride (picture below after a sad link and news from Berkeley). We're not parents, so I can't speak to parenting. But as an observer of facilities and accommodations, it seems like we could do more to make things easier for parents and children in the US. 


Märchengarten - in the grounds of Ludwigsburg Schloss (palace) - a garden with children-geared activities and a whole walk through museum like interactive dioramas of Grimm fairy tales. For instance, if you opened the gate to this house, the witch from Hansel and Gretel would poke her head out, ask who it was, and then tell you the story!

Mildy creepy? Yes. Über cool? YES!

Mirror Mirror
On the wall
Who's the fairest (like literally the whitest guy)
of them all?
; )

Once you said that in solid Deutsch, the mirror would light up and intricate moving figurines of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves would tell you their story!


Today, US Berkeley announced that it would drop health coverage for families and I know that our country can do more - for its people, and families.

Ramp with steps in the middle for strong mommas and papas to take their strollers down steps.


Two days ago there was another shooting in Lafayette. You and I had a conversation about the difference between guns and gun laws while we drove to eat a delicious Indian dinner. What an irony. And what privilege we have.

That's today's story. A story of stories. And let's see what tomorrow will bring and what story we will tell.



With a backpack of privilege I'm slowly unpacking,
Yours,
-Suparna

P.S. - the sweet Punjabi guy at the Indian restaurant today did a pretty funny double take when you said thank you in Hindi to him. ; ) Also, tauji told me how lucky I am to have found someone like you when you were in the bathroom at the restaurant. I want you to know that I think he's completely right.





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