23 April 2012
22 April 2012
Every time I visit a new place, I say “This is my favorite place in the world, we have to move here.” I don’t know why, but new places, new landscapes, new architecture, new people, new cuisines, when everything is new and unfamiliar, it excites me. And visiting Toskana, "Tuscany" had the exact same affect on me. I had already been completely charmed by the flat landscape surrounding Mirandola on the opposite side of the country, but the moment we drove into Tuscany, I was in enchanted.
Everything you’ve ever heard about Tuscany landscape, it is absolutely true. The whole area looks like it was designed by a master gardener. If there is an opening into the Garden of Eden, I'd like to believe it is here. Rolling hills, meadows, vineyards, fruit trees, fig orchards, small stone towns with windy cobblestone roads on hill tops, each with its own private castle, and fountains in town squares, staircases winding around the towns and into the stone farms down below. In every direction, there is a stunning view.
The cottage we stayed in is part of an agriturisimo, a former building on the farm that was used for storage and wine making, and it was later turned into small cottages to rent out to tourists. The family has owned the farm for a century now, and they have a private vineyard, from which they produce their own private family wine. It’s hard to believe that the cottage we stayed in was once just used for wine storage. It has high vaulted brick ceilings in the bedrooms, exposed wooden beams in the living room and kitchen. The floor is tiled with terracotta, and the windows have heavy, well preserved wooden shutters on them.
There is a large fireplace in the living room, and beautiful brick arches that show you where the walls didn’t used to be. The door still locks with a skeleton key. Underneath us, the family converted the winery into a lounge for it’s guests, full of large rustic wooden tables and benches. All around the house are various outdoor tables and shelters, as well as chairs and a soccer field complete with nets, in which the kids and I have spent hours playing. It is still too early for mosquitoes. Lizards scurry around in and out of holes. The children ran around outside unsupervised without me worrying they would get hurt while I prepared dinner or did the dishes.
16 April 2012
A post by Katya Barry www.katyabarry.com
Hello Monday! As I was brainstorming about the topic of my post today, I was going through my files and I came across this article. It was sent to me by one of my coaching lecturers and I've no idea who had written it originally. As I was reading thought it, I felt so touched and inspired so I thought that Diana and her readers would appreciate this heart melting story.
"A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said: "I am blind, please help." There were only a few coins in the hat.
A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.
Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, "Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?" The man said, "I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way." I wrote: "Today is a beautiful day but I cannot see it"
Both signs told people that the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people that they were so lucky that they were not blind. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?
Moral of the Story:
Be thankful for what you have.. Be creative. Be innovative Think differently and positively.. When life gives you a 100 reasons to cry, show life that you have 1,000 reasons to smile. Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear. Keep the faith and drop the fear.
The most beautiful thing is to see a person smiling…
And even more beautiful, is knowing that you are the reason behind it!!!
I wish you all a wonderful week ahead and let's not forget why we are all here.
If this story inspires you, feel free to share it.
Diana, it's been a pleasure invading your space for a while:)
13 April 2012
The city of Munich is heavily guarded by lions. Great ones, large and proud stand guard before the Field Marshall Hall on the vast Odeonsplatz, one with an eye on the yellow Theatinerkirche, the other gazing upon the former residence of Munich's royalty. The latter's lips slightly parted as if to lowly growl a message to its four small, golden brethren who line the street, their prominent noses at the perfect height for an affectionate pat from passersby. The lions watch from flags and memorials, from a world renowned brewery and from countless city keepsakes. And under their watch, Munich keeps her charm and beauty. Invites her visitors to breathe her blossom scented air in the spring, bask in the sun on the fields of the Englischer Garten, then to seek the shade of the countless chestnut trees spreading their vast, flat palms over every biergarten. To revel in the jocundity of Oktoberfest as the music and beer flow and effortlessly carry away any negative thought. But also to humbly and shyly bare the scars of her dark history and in her clear, blue eyes beckon the viewer to understand and learn from them.
12 April 2012
10 Types of Results That Can Be Produced.
Hello everyone, my name is Katya Barry. I met Diana five years ago (gosh, it's been a while now) during pre-natal classes in Munich when both of us were expecting our first children. Our kids, Maxi and Marie, have grown to become very close and there is that interesting spark between them, god knows what it is, but something makes those two have the best time ever, even though they both behave like cheeky monkeys! It must the 'foreign' kids syndrome or something!
I have another child, Elena, who was born 18 months after Marie, so I've been kind of busy doing the mummy thing for the past few years. So busy, that I have had enough! LOL! Working for woman is truly a luxury here (Diana can tell you all about it) so I've decided to create a perfect opportunity for myself and go solo. And so, I am now an International Business and Career Coach and Trainer. What it means is that I help foreigners discover and create personal and professional opportunities outside of their home lands. I break borders and create new rules. I use various coaching and training methods to support my clients to not only achieve their goals but take it one step further and achieve the right balance in life and basic human happiness.
On this note I'd like to share with you the types of results that can be produced when working with a coach.
1. Financial-more money is made(bingo!)
2. Legacy-you can leave you mark on civilization
3. Improvement-things get better (happyJ)
4. Reduction-things get more simple
5. Integrity-things get stronger
6. Expansion-things get BIGGER
7. Awareness-people get smarter (including yourself)
8. Energy-people get touched (ahhhh...)
9. Value-people left with more (oh yes!)
10. Momentum-people move faster (Ferrari)
I hope that gives you some ideas on the type of changes or adjustments you might like to make in your life.
I welcome all comments, suggestions, questions. If you'd like to receive more tips on how to succeed in life, start or run a business, or get that dream job, then hop onto my site www.katyabarry.com and sign up for my newsletter. Also LIKE me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/events/391470780876921/, and follow me on Twitter @katyabarry.
I wish you all a fab weekend ahead and you'll hear from me again bright and early on Monday, 16 April. Ciao!
bit afraid of going off theme. I really respect the honesty of this
blog. Family, divorce, raising kids in a foreign country. I also have my
own stories there, but in spite of everything, I know we are so
privileged in developed countries to have possibilities. In other
countries people are less lucky to have access, for instance, to
therapy, advice, help, but also simply to communication to people
outside of their communities: outside views. Particularly in times of
The poem I've written here bases on a very recent and major crisis in
Afghanistan. It bases on several assumptions which I've detailed in a
longer article on my own blog.
Follow link or cut and paste
we need not worry about water any more, it is brought
in bottles by embarrassed soldiers and I hide behind
father when they come
I (still) hear shots and shouts descend at night, memories
that night, I smiled a bashful, "I know you"
he pointed his gun
if I spoke english, I might have a voice to tell of
the lights and the noises, mother just couldn't forget
now I can't either
maybe then you'd get my feelings and not just these
subtitled translations—if I spoke English—perhaps though
you'd just get neither.
my father still hears the taliban bombs. not me
I'm too young to remember, my mother heard shots, nights
long after they were gone
he heard them, too, the american, and if I spoke english
I'd have told him, we all hear them here
he pointed his gun
did I really see him? if I spoke english, I'd have asked:
whether she was real, my mother, shot by a soldier
or maybe he was shellshock, and what I thought was blood,
and what I thought was mother, was illusion destroyed
by gunshots that never existed
10 April 2012
So I really will have to do it all alone, and while I'm a bit scared, I'm also looking forward to learning how to do it alone. I'm not about to let being alone prevent my children and I from traveling, and I'm looking forward to this next challenge, and I'm sure it will be an adventure.
While we are there, we are going to be disconnecting from the Internet, so I've asked some friends and fellow writers to guest blog for me while I'm gone. As soon as I return, I'm sure I'll have loads to share about our first solo vacation as our new family of three.
You gave me another gift, yesterday when I picked you up at the train station after a long weekend away with your father. You ran into my arms yelling "Mama" punctuated by your giggle of pure joy and you snuggled right into me, and right at that moment, I knew that even with all the changes in our lives, that you are still you. And that is the greatest gift that you could give me on your birthday.
Maxi Bear, I will love you forever and always, never forget that. Happy Birthday little man.
09 April 2012
08 April 2012
After a good cup of coffee and breakfast, however, I decided to get out there and enjoy the park. I had one destination in mind, the Gerlos Pass, a high Alpine pass between Salzburg and Tyrol. The point of driving to the pass, was not to see the pass, but to find the Leitenkammerklamm, a gorge, where a mountain river has cut through the rocky landscape on the side of the mountain, creating many beautiful "Kolken and eluviations," or so the guide book promised.
As I drove up into the mountains the snow got heavier and heavier, and before I knew it, I broke through the clouds to a little winter paradise. I had arrived at the Gerlos Pass, ele. 1500m, where the snowfall was much lighter, but it was still covered with several meters of snow, not only the new powder of today's snowfall, but an accumulation of several months of snow.
I think this photo of the Finkau Restaurant and Guesthouse, if rendered as a painting could make a very nice Christmas Card.
07 April 2012
Being that it is Europe, unlike many of the National & State Parks back in the United States, Hohe Tauern is fully populated. Almost everywhere you look, the dramatic landscape is spotted with big sprawling farms outlined by snow peaked Alps. The farms look like they come from a different time with their low sloping roofs and gingerbread balconies like the kind represented on Cuckoo clocks. Truthfully, most of these farms have been handed down from generation to generation, and instead of modernizing, most of the families have maintained the original architectural integrity.
I'm staying on one such farm; many of the farmers have turned the extra space in their homes into apartments for travelers like me to rent for the prices of peanuts and a kiss. Just kidding about the kissing part. I'm pretty sure the matron of the farm wouldn't take too kindly to me kissing her, though she has been very friendly and gracious. I've seen her son and daughter, and I think she has a husband somewhere, but I've not seen heads or tails of him. I'm assuming he's busy working the farm. Come to think of it, today I didn't see anyone at the farm. The only human contact I've had at all today was the cashier at the supermarket.
It's been an adjustment for me, not having any human contact, when I'm so used to having human contact all day long with the children. That used to one of the biggest arguments my ex and I used to have, my desire to have time alone. It was an adjustment for him. Before kids, he was used to getting all of my attention, but after having a baby, and then two babies, sometimes I just
Now, I have loads of time to myself, and while I'm getting a lot of writing, reading and other things done, there are moments when I want to lean over to someone and point out the way the waterfall carves out the snow at its base, or show the kids the funny man carved into a tree trunk.
06 April 2012
So today, when I hit the Autobahn alone, I did what I used to, I cranked up the music and belted it out with my favorite artists. Back then probably Indigo Girls, but today it was mostly Tina Dickow and Adele.
And, when I walked into the room where I'm staying, and pulled back the curtains, all, I could say was "Thank God for This Beautiful View."
That's what happened to me yesterday. I was getting ready to leave for Austria, today, and last night two of my very good friends, Mandy & Johanna, wanted to go out for dinner and drinks. Since I couldn't join them, they came over to mine, we ate the last of the pulled pork BBQ, fixed a salad, mixed some drinks, played around, put on our HazMat suits and together attacked the apartment.
In their generosity, perhaps influenced by a few rum and cokes, they offered to help me pack. Mandy wanted to pack my bikini, thinking it would give me inspiration to wear it while writing, holed up in the farmhouse I'm staying at, so instead I set them to folding my laundry, while I packed. With a few drinks and good company, folding laundry and packing has never been so entertaining.
And when that was over, we went into the kids bedroom for some more good times. I was tempted to just shut the door on the chaos, but as I don't particularly care for the kids to come home to the natural disaster formerly known as their bedroom, they helped me pull it together, and in just under an hour, I was standing aghast. THEY HAVE A FLOOR IN HERE? How did I not know my children had this much floor space? Oh, yes, because it has been since Christmas since I've actually seen their floor, and now, it resembles a children's bedroom again, not the aftermath of Mount Vesuvius.
Now, I can leave for Austria for my solo weekend, and relax, knowing that when I get home, I won't have to quarantine the apartment. So, I'm off for the weekend, and when I return, I'll update you on my solo weekend, and introduce you to the guest bloggers who will be taking over while I'm in Italy.
04 April 2012
03 April 2012
02 April 2012
And one of the things that I really love here is that if you don't have a car or access to a car, is how easy it is to get around. Now, normally I get on here and kvetch about how frustrating it can be to navigate public transportation with two children in tow, but truthfully having access to public transportation all the way out here in the suburban countryside is generally fantastic. However, what is really wonderful about Munich, is the access you have to it with a bicycle.
Almost the entire city is covered with a crisscrossing network of bicycle paths. All the major roads have bicycle lanes, often separated from the main road by a curb, so not much danger of a car crossing over into the bicycle lane. Additionally, because the city is covered by parks, there are bike paths crossing through the parks that will cut your commute down considerably.
Generally I've only used my bike locally in the neighborhood, to go to the kindergarten, to friends' houses, the store or der Bahnhof. And occasionally I've forayed deeper into the city, but on the West side closest to my home. Well, yesterday I was brave, and I decided to take my bicycle to my friend's house all the way on the other side of the city. It was just over 11km in (approximately 6 miles), and generally I did pretty well, though once I made it to her neighborhood I got quite lost, so I probably added an extra mile to the ride.
And as luck would have it, my friend's house was in the same general vicinity of my next destination three hours later, Treemans Coffee, where I meet up with friends every Sunday evening. Of course, trying to rely on my inner compass, of which I have none, added another good mile to the trip, but luckily I was carrying my handy-dandy map, and was back on track in no time.
Considering how lost I got during the daytime, I was mildly concerned when I left Treemans at 8:30 pm in the evening for my trek home. However, somehow, miraculously, I made it all the way home, without getting lost once, ending my 22.5 km (14 mile) bike ride at approximately 9pm that evening.
For those of you who worry about me cycling home in the dark, the entire ride home was lit, and there are a zillion other cyclists and pedestrians outside as well, because this is Munich, and it might be the only city in the world, where a woman cycling alone at night is completely the norm, and no one bothers you because it is the safest place in the world.
And that is one of the reasons, I love it here.