Dear friends, I've been trying hard to find the words for a good holiday greeting. Christmas just passed and the New Year's eve is approaching - the time of joy for some, the time of loneliness for others. The time for turning pages and changing old habits. The time when we dare to make wishes and pray for miracles. The time when even grown-ups believe in magic.
Dear Leonard Cohen, Today was a cold and dreary November day. The north wind was howling, tearing the last lemon-coloured leaves off their branches, shuffling a few remaining Halloween decorations on otherwise empty front yards. Today was a typical November day, too late for autumn, too early for Christmas. I went to your home on the corner of the Main and rue Marie-Anne.
Do you believe in soulmates? I do. I believe there is someone who swings to the same tune. Someone who loves the same things: silence, morning shadows, standing in line for a coffee in a busy bakery, when streets are messy with fallen leaves, when no-name bands play something from Simon and Garfunkel and strangers who smell of Eau de Cartier. I believe it could be anyone: a man, a woman, a child, a dog, a city. Do you believe in love from the first sight? I do. I believe in chance, in alignment of stars, in destiny and in forces of nature that bring together men, women, children, dogs and cities.
Rosie and I met in a small German town. You've probably never heard of Bochum, but there is so much in this story about geography that you might take a map and start looking up places right now. We were studying humanitarian action together. We were also dancing, drinking and arguing how to save the world. And we really meant it, to save the world. After getting our masters', she went back to Sri Lanka to do rehabilitation work, sometimes I heard from her, as she came to Germany for common friend's wedding, sometimes she was in Denmark, in California, suddenly in Japan. A few years ago I learned that Rosie had become a playwright, a poet and an actor, enacting her autobiographical plays. Other than that she remained fierce and fearless, honest and generous and an amazing storyteller. This is the story of my friend Rosie, a woman from the far corner of the world.
My favourite thought of the week comes from an interview by the educator and author Erika Christakis to the National Public Radio: I think boredom can be a friend to the imagination. Later in this same interview Christakis says: I think that's very unrealistic and probably not a good idea to aspire to being comfortable all the time.
I never met her. Not in real life, anyway. I would have loved to drop by her house, unannounced, for an evening cup of tea, or take her out for coffee. But we always had thousands of miles and several time-zones between us. Sometimes I wrote her letters, real letters in crinkly envelopes that took weeks, sometimes months to reach her. Once she sent me a parcel, a box wrapped in silver-grey paper and tied with a pink ribbon. Inside that box, laying on her bed of green tull and rose petals was a doll like I’d never seen before. It was a kind of doll my great-grandmother received for Christmas when she had been a very, very good girl: delicate, light as a feather, dressed in silk and lace, with a face from another time. I asked her if she would like to be my first fairy and she agreed. For over a week she was patiently telling me stories about love, happiness, chaos, magic and the sea.
You might have noticed that Fairies & Co have not been very active this past year. We’ve been through ups and downs, old problems, new beginnings. We have parted ways with some of our original team members and found some new friends along the way. We have done a lot of thinking and soul searching. We have asked ourselves whether we still have time and energy and ideas, whether, after all, we still believe in magic. On the New Year's eve I came across a Bored Panda article called "20+ Photos That Prove 2015 Wasn't the Worst Year After All".
It is a sunless and snowless December here in Montreal and from my window the city looks like a sea of grey fog with islands of soggy red brick poking through. On the news, reports on terrorism are followed by stories about refugees and my Facebook feed is loudly complaining of the lack of Christmas mood. It is the eve of my daughter’s second Christmas and I can’t help but wonder what kind of world will she be living in.
Mum calls me every day. She wants to know how I slept and if my lunch included any proteins. She tells me to wear a scarf and remember my gloves. She asks if the snow has melted and when will I finally buy rain boots. I used to roll my eyes and say, Muuuuum! I mean, who didn’t? Wait, she used to say, when you’ll have children, you’ll understand. I do, mum, I really do.
It was such a beautiful day. We woke up early and listened to Vivaldi’s Four seasons and then I took my baby to the window to watch a billion white butterflies dancing outside. We were planning to have brownies for breakfast. And then I checked my phone and saw the news about attack on Charlie Hebdo. It happens way too often. Reality breaks into my cozy little world chasing snow butterflies away. Reality reminds me that life is fragile, time is not kind, love is fleeting and no matter how loud we clap our hands, sometimes fairies die. That morning