The Man and I were able to speak to one of Daughter’s teachers today. Due to the corona rules in school (no parents inside the school), we’ve hardly had any contact with the teachers. Today they scheduled a ten minute update for us parents. Ten minutes is not long, but a lot can be exchanged within that time frame. I learned that Daughter is actively participating at school, not afraid of putting her finger up to try stuff first in gym class. I also learned her teacher has a bit of a gender bias. Based on Daughter’s looks (I guess she meant the combination of a delicate face, nordic eye/hair color and the dresses Daughter prefers to wear) the teacher was (pleasantly) surprised Daughter prefers building blocks over dolls to play with. She made a sturdy impression on the teacher. Yay for Daughter. Her mother is proud she fares so well in her new environment.
I treated Man and Daughter to a visit to Hoge Veluwe and Kröller-Müller today. The repainted Jardin d’émail by Dubuffet was Daughter’s highlight.
The moment I’ve been waiting for since Daughter got back into daycare came last Friday after her first two days in school. She caught a cold. Of course this could be Corona related, but mostly likely it’s just a common cold. Yesterday, when I asked her how she felt she explained to me that she felt a little ill, but not like the virus ill. I love her logic.
Today is a remarkable day in my household. It’s Thursday and Daughter is not at home. Instead, she has the privilege to attend school today. A month later than originally planned, three months earlier than I expected. As all the COVID-19 measurements took a lot of improvisation by schools. Daughter’s class was originally planned to start on May 11th, the day all schools were allowed to reopen. Due to a shortage in staff (some teachers couldn’t return to regular face-to-face teaching for being more at risk) the teachers hired for Daughter’s class were needed elsewhere. School postponed the start of this new class, which is meant for kids turning four during Spring.
When I received the e-mail, I cursed. Really loudly. Daughter has only been looking forward to this day since she turned three. So you can imagine my disappointment to have to disappoint her. But she took the news as all other COVID-19 measurements: with a short moment of disappointment followed by a shrug. It is what it is. Our contract with daycare would end on May 31st, which meant we would soon be back to having Daughter at home 24/7. Consequence would be that I wouldn’t be able to work. I immediately asked for extension of daycare until September, the start of the new school year. I didn’t expect school to start for her until then. Luckily that was possible in the same group on the same days she’s used to. Extending the contract with daycare also solved the issue for six weeks of Summer holiday, which we originally planned to spend walking in Austria, perhaps visits to other places in Europe and hanging out with family. In reality this will be a long Summer spent within the borders of our own country. Having three days a week that Daughter’s been taken care of, gives the Man and me time to continue to work during Summer, to make up for all the working hours I lost earlier this year.
And then school sent me another email last Thursday. They found new teachers for Daughter’s class and would start the next week, on Tuesday. I was a bit in doubt whether to let Daughter start at all. She’s perfectly happy in daycare at the moment and will only be for a few weeks. The Man came up with the perfect plan. Daughter would attend daycare as usual and then, for the remainder of this school year, five weeks in total, she attends school on the days she is at home. Therefore this Thursday I’m not Chief Daughter, but at my desk, writing, uninterrupted. A big day. At least until 2PM.
Deze hartekreet van een docent in het hoger onderwijs is zo goed verwoord dat ik ‘m hier wel even móet linken. Ik ken haar niet, het is zomaar een pareltje dat voorbij kwam rollen doordat iemand in mijn LinkedIn netwerk er een hartje aan gaf.
At last I was able to join an Unhurried Conversation. The idea stems from Johnny Moore, a friend who kindly hosted me and the Man during the Summer of 2013 in his big house in Cambridge. I remember Johnnie talked a bit about this concept of being more unhurried back then, but it was all really new.
The concept is relatively simple:
We don’t specify a topic, rather letting people talk about whatever they want. Apart from briefly describing our idea, we use one very simple device to support the conversation. It’s a talking piece. We pick an object and whoever holds it gets to talk. And everyone else listens. Which means the speaker won’t get interrupted. (And I add that you can hold the object and not speak… you can hold silence until you’re ready to speak.)Johnnie Moore on Unhurried Conversation in 2015
As Johnny’s based in the UK and I’m based in NL, I couldn’t attend any of the meetings he hosted. Over the years more people came on board of the concept and started facilitating these Unhurried Conversations in their own countries. Among them Nadia von Holzen, a Swiss living in NL, who was waiting for an opportunity to facilitate conversations in Dutch. She teamed up with Ton Baan and scheduled a few online meetings (since meeting face-to-face is impossible these days).I immediately jumped on the opportunity to finally experience an unhurried conversation first hand and reserved my spot.
I participated this morning with five others and it was a very pleasant, and indeed unhurried, conversation. The fact that one person speaks and the others listen really creates space and short silences in between the stories shared. This short space in between helps to slow down and listen to your inner voice. What have I just heard? Is there something I want to tell? There is no goal to pursue, there is no outcome needed. Therefore the conversations meanders to wherever the participants take it. Sometimes you share something because someone else triggers a memory. Sometimes you think of something completely unrelated and tell that. And then a few minutes later the stories turn out to be connected in an unexpected way.
We talked about enjoying nature, longing for mountains, being blessed considering the circumstances, social interaction in corona-era, being connected, how to create the same urgency for climate change as we feel for COVID-19, Dutch clouds and other stuff in between. It felt refreshing to be able to just share stories, uninterrupted. There are few moments in life when you get to do that. Unless you join in for another unhurried one.