I liked to read the old post again and
„Oh, today it’s your birthday“, said the doctor. „Congratulation“
I am not kidding: after several attempts of celebrating my birthday in an unforgettable manner since I became 69 (I wrote about it before), my birthday this time is the first one which fitted in the overall situation and athmosphere in the world around me: fragile, partly broken, dystopic. I do not only refer to the terroristic attack in Berlin shortly before christmas. I mean the gush in of disturbing events which were so near to me in space, time and emotion that I could not turn away.
Midst August, my husband and me went to Italy, to a nice place at Laggo Maggiore, to celebrate a birthday of a friend and collegues who invited a lot of people from our common past. We met a couple again who were beloved friends and we had nice hours in a wonderful weather with good food and excellent wine. Hours before the programm started with an evening-concert in a church – all around Händel – I felt a heavy pain in my back. No doubt: it was a damaged disc! I was full of anger and frustration because I could not take part in the programm and the wonderful excursion with the boat next day to the isle of Borromei and the expected excellent lunch. Instead I was occupied in thoughts how I could go on with my husband to our destination in the south of Italy, an area in the Marken, where we were supposed to meet friends who are living there several times in a year. I could not walk , not a single step, but I could sit. Next day, it was a sunday, we went to the emergency unit in the local hospital and after an exploration by the doctor and a first injection we decided to go on and drive several hundreds of kilometres to meet our friends. How lucky I was in my bad luck that my husband is a doctor who could give me the other 5 injections to heal my pain. It was due to this treatment that I had no longer pain in sitting and sleeping, but I could not walk more than 10 steps, later 15 and than 20, till the pain came back and forced me to sit down immediately. With these conditions in mind, we four: Anne and Chris, Otto and me, had a wonderful week. It was the most inspiring and wonderful time we had together, ever. Our meals took place outside the house with a wonderful view to the mountains. We sat under a tree overloaden with figs which were riping while we were there. My friend Anne cooked phantastic meals, Chris offered self bakened bread and wine. And til late in the night we sat under a growing moon and were discussing and exploring a lot of themes, especially personal ones like being creative in our age or how to deal with the fear of and the abhorrence at death. No thought was unspoken.
One day before the first earthquake in the night 23./24.8.2016 Otto and me had to go home, and next day we heard at a telephonecall from our friends about the damages of the earthquake. The house was nearly rotten, but the final blow came weeks later in the second period of earthquakes. Since then the house is no longer a place to live in, to repair it would cost an amount more than 100000 Euro. And our friends decided to give it up.
Meanwhile, there are other thoughts. Beause the area is so beautiful, so quiet and their friends in the near-by village are so familiar, there is a new plan, that their son Nick is building a wooden house on the ruins of the old ones after the final demolition. A wooden house is supposed to stand against earthquakes. We will see, but something is clear: This project will be the project of the next generation. I have to repeat it: Projects of the next generation. We old ones are out. There is only limited time left for smaller projects. And what is interesting enought to start with and take the effort and trouble of a beginning? My former chief in the psychosomatic hospital in Heidelberg started to learn surfing after his 60th birthday. I try with over 70 to learn the baroque-flute. And I know that this will not lead to a kind of mastership.
What can help to explore and learn new things in old age? How it is possible to be curious of the world and other people even there is a lot of dark and insecure atmosphere and political and social scenery around us?
I will mention two people: The journalist and writer Roger Willemsen who died this summer with 60 years was a person who was committed to several social and political activities. He love to interfere in different things. I think he loved to interfere in the structure of the world. I miss his voice to the ongoing madness.
Timothy Snyder in Lettre International (issue 115, winter 2016), read by Arno Widman and mentioned in the Berliner Zeitung 7./8. january 2017: twenty proposals to keep the freedom in the deprivation of freedom. Proposal nr. 10 says: Try yourself in new body-politics. Power will like to see how your body become soft in your easy-chair and how your emotions will fall flat ineffectively on the television screen. Go out of the house. Abandon your body to unfamiliar locations and unfamiliar people.
It is that why I am here in Berlin?
The post, I wrote three hours before, ended up in a nowhere, I couldn’t find it anymore.
I wrote about the exciting experience I had till now in Berlin, including some ups and downs. I wrote about the difficulties which broke out in my marriage. We had discussions about old themes which were very harsh, next day we were one heart/one soul. In my lost post I assumed that the distance by living apart most of the week led to a lack of flexibility and elasticity.
Analyzing happened and followed psychoanalytical standards. But it did not help.
In the moment we have the following agreement: wrong choice of the partner. We try to go away from thinking in „WE“, instead we want to find out our individual wishes, longings, attitudes, our personal handwriting and script.
I will finish now because of the unreliability of my ipad in the moment.
when I decided to go to Berlin for one year it was clear to me that besides my personal pleasure ( my 10year old granddaughter, going to movies, listening to lectures from psychoanalysts and other scientists, visiting exhibitions, writing), I wanted to do some work in the social field. When there was a question from the IPU (International Psychoanalytic University) for supervison in a student´s project I immediately answered.
In this project students in psychology look after refugees in different settings. My first group worked in a refugee-camp near the mainstation in Berlin. It is a socalled emergency accomodation, that means refugees are here only for a certain time til there is another place for them to be. Up to 300 persons can live here in two huge halls, one for the women and the social places, the other for the men. The halls are subdivided into smaller „open cages“ for sleeping. The refugees are not locked in, but I found this expression suitable for these places which are open to the ceiling of the hall. They give place for 4 beds, one above another so that 8 people can sleep here and be here during the daytime if they wish.
My students were lucky because one of them came from Iran and spoke farsi, the language wich is also understood in Afghanistan. It was clear that she was frequently asked for a talk, for an advice, for a listening to the stories of some refugees, and it was clear, too, that this was an overwhelming experience and a huge burdening. One of the refugees showed a picture in his handy, laughing, do you want to see my friend? It was a picture of his friend, dead.
The trauma of difficult and often horrible flights cannot be contained in the moment. We do not have enough psychotherapists in Berlin or elsewhere who are competent in this field. My students do there best, but psychotherapy with refugees is not their job. They can help to make their everyday life a little better: to help them with bureaucracy (very important!!!), to find addresses and accompany them to clinics and physicians, to explain to them differences in cultural attitudes. I found one event very helpful and inspiring: my farsi-speaking student organized a cooking-event with a dozen of refugees. They had a lot of fun, the people were active and enjoyed the coming together.
It was a sensation this triumph over England in the now running Championship of European Soccer. It happened on monday the 27. of June in Nizza, France that a country unknown for playing soccer in a bigger standard defeated this glorious nation. Another aspect of the „Brexit“.
In my newspaper appeared on monday the 3rd of july one side with facts about Island, called „Niceland“: This small island, but what it achieved against England was absolutely great. This remark was followed by ten things which one should know about Island (like Björk, the unbelievable singer, or that Island has the oldest existing parliament in the world since 930). But what struck me most was the hint that the Icelander are people of books. They have an ancestor – the poet and historian Snorri Sturluson, 1178-1241 – who gave in his „Snorra Edda“ instructions how to write nordic heroic stories. Now I cite out of the article: „Even til today the Icelander read and write with enthusiasm. Iceland has no army of its own but a writer´s association“.
This evening we will see who wins the play France against Island and who will be our opponent in the match on thursday the 7. of July. I wish a „Halbfinale“ with the Icelanders.
After a long time of living, thinking, feeling, here is a restart again.
I wanted to find the posts I wrote already, but it was impossible. So I decided to see me as a person who makes all the faults which are possible. It is so.
I had been at the Berlinale (february) and only one film is still in my head: Wu Tu (My Land). The film is made in China in 2015. The director is Fan Jian who is also the man behind the camera. It is the story of two activists who live in resistance to a social and political system. They give support to landworkers who are wandering from one place to another to find a job. The film shows how the activists fight against the social system which tries to frighten them by cutting electricity and water. But they don’t give up. On the place where they live investors plan to build high buildings for wealthy people.
There is one scene in the movie which touches me most: The couple together with friends deals with the constant harassment by the bureaucracy. The do it by role playing. While they are taking the roles of the bureaucrats, exaggerating their behavior, their gestures and voices, they free themselves by mocking at their opponents.
Only one film! Can it be that it is mostly the athmosphere in the Berlinale cinemas which is enjoying? The impression of glamour while the wheather around the cinemas is unfriendly, cold and rainy? The magnificant golden ball on the screen which bursts out into stars, millions of them, accompanied by a powerful music?
My husband says: You should have gone into the right movies.
I know that I will be disappointed from about half of the films I have choosen. It has to do with difficulties of getting Tickets. I decided not to stand in line at one of the ticket counters but to buy them online. The First Time in my life and therefore a challenge. Everything was new for me in this sphere and everything what could fail did fail. Films, I wanted to see were either not
available online or were already sold out. (Movies in the competition. Or movies with famous actors). Ouch! Before I became too frustrated, I changed my procedure: I was looking for my free days and chose one or two films in these days, not really looking for the content. But there was my conviction that there could be no real flop. This procedure took a lot of time. Next: before I could book a ticket, I had to create a account, but not on the app „Berlinale“. It took time again. At the end with the right account and a lot of possibilities I booked tickets like a maniac, click, click and click. I decided for the culinary cinema – a film with dinner afterwards. You could choose your own place. I clicked several times at a place near the screen, grey dots, but the procedure didn´t move on. Only 5 red Spots were seen, but I did not want to sit so far from the screen, and I decided to try it next day again. Sometimes wisdom comes overnight: The red dots were the only seats still available and they were sold out the next mornin! Ouch again.
To make it short now: I managed to book 10 films. And I managed to load the tickets down and stored all 10 tickets in an app on my iphone. It took me several telephonecalls and a lot of excitement, but at the end I was very, very satisfied if not proud.
In my next post I will tell you more about the films I saw – some brilliant among them.