Wordless Wednesday

Getting to know your Art, messy ever after

How we choose what we do, and how we approach it…will determine whether the sum of our days adds up to a formless blur, or to something resembling a work of art” –Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

I started my art journey when I was 7 or 8 years old. This is as far as I remember.Of course at this age, my preceptions of Art is very limited to crayons and skizzes. I don´t even know what is an abstract art or what is the style of Mondrian.If a child draw something on a paper, whether it´s a circles of colors or a big chump of black pens, it´s always a masterpiece.You need to compliment the child and yes, encourage them.That masterpiece should end up being posted in the fridge or hang in the wall. Every work of art deserves and an audience and applause.

Well, not really.I never have those times.I don´t have any favourite artists at all, since during those times, I can´t recall having many books related to art. I didn´t even know what kind of art I was making. Because of constant move, I lost all my childhood drawings and I don´t have tangible recollections of my old drawings. But then I am sure, I painted a lot of fields,landscapes, mosaic and doll like perspectives.

Getting to know my Art style was hard for me in the beginning. It didn´t came easy. Puberty is also a crucial time and life itself offers daily obstacles to find the person who I want to be. In school there´s always an Art competition but it it doesn´t guarantee of winning always.I am exposed to an environment that doing better in Academics is better than paints, crayons and sketch pads. Drawing is a hobby, not a field to excel. So up to that time, I never really encouraged myself to do better art or even excel in it. I am just bent on at least getting a medal, or at least in the top 5 of graduating class. I could give so many weak excuses but at this phase, I haven´t get to know my art style…no, not yet.

I find this totally different from children nowadays. My daughter had a drawing exhibition at age of 5. She is constantly active in her Kindergaten years both in sports activity and drawing. She draw almost everyday.One time she came to me and said :

Mama, please check in my Math book, in page 61, you will find there something that you will like. There is the famous painting of Wassily Kandinsky, the” Weiches Hart: This painter is also included in the 50 famous Artists Book ( 50 Berühmte Künstler in der Welt).

I said to myself…Okaaaayyy. My God, she´s only 6. How on earth does she knows it?

Does she even knows the art style of Kandinsky?

In the end, she mumbled ” I also wanted to be in that Book Mama…”

I am sure she doesn´t know what she want in her life either.This phase is yet too fragile. The metamorphosis of growth,changing behavious, dreams and attitude and so on seems so infinitely wide.The journey is still far…

Getting to know your own Drama

Getting to know my own style of art came actually late in my life. I am also a late bloomer in everything. The only thing that I am early is when I wake up in the morning because I am actually a morning person.I started drawing more and paying attention to details. I took noted on which Artist´s styles appeal to me and what elements of design is present in my creations. I pushed to maintain my patterns and made my own voice.

The flood of compliments and encouragement came I was reassured. I heard the voice signalling me to continue and hone my brushes and create something unique.I started an Art journal and watch my progress.

Looking back in Highschool I started joing poster making contests.Sometimes I skip it because I haven´t prepared well & my materials are limited. I got intimidated and success of winning doesn´t come quickly. My ideas were so little and I feel insecure of my art.I didn´t know that it requires patience and I haven´t really push myself to get out from my boundaries. I was too busy concentrating on life, studies, and other fields of survival. I got distracted again by the dust of everyday life.

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life ” …-Pablo Picasso

Then I started to pay more attention to myself.I startted taking care of myself and doing what makes me happy.I searched in my soul and in my creativity bank to polish what I can and what can I do to make it better. I tried experimenting with different mediums and explore other dangerous, risky subjects. It feels more like getting to know what kind of coffee I would like to order, the type of bag I wanted to bring… a journey to being an Aesthetes.

I am always motivated by visual pleasure and I would trade a place inside an Art Gallery and admire the masters.I have dreamt of having an original artwork piece of my favourite Artist. I spend and spend more time and money on art than most people, or other material things.I go to exhibitions and join them If I can afford it and have the time for it…

I took risks, and developing my own art style didn´t come out from thin air.

I am still not even there, I am still a project in motion, a work in progress.

Everyday, I am still getting to know myself and my Art and at the end of every painting session, my hands are dirty.

I am happy though that it´s always messy ever after.

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures..” -Henry Ward Beecher

What type of Art do you love?

Do you still remember what you wanna be when you were 10 years old ?

This post is inspired by Lens Artist Photo Challenge “Getting to Know You, a great subject introduced by the witty Priscilla of scillagrace. If you have time to kill, head on to her page and see the other meaningful interpretation of this Theme.

Until then, Tschüss.

Löwenzahn

Dandelions, return of Summer

Peacock dance and a little bit of Mondrian

Mondrian Art Spring garden Inspiration in the Netherlands

I love anything about Flowers (or Plants in general) , naturally gardening and art. Sometimes I kinda mixed them all together because they really go hand in hand, always together,inseparable.At home I only use two types of home deco, my plants and my paintings, especially my Textured Art abract paintings. For me, a home without a piece of Art is like a house without a soul and without plants, it has no life at all.Sorry, but I just love nature that not having it around is a big sin for me!

I consider it a great day when I had time spent with my plants, and did a little bit of Art. Depending on the mood, I could be so absorbed with it that time really flies.

So let´s talk about Mondrian Art, what is it actually?

“By turning from the surface, one comes closer to the inner laws of matter, which are also the laws of the Spirit.” –  Piet Mondrian

Composition with Yellow, Blue and Red 1937-42 Piet Mondrian 1872-1944 Purchased 1964 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T00648

Mondrian Art is a form of art defined by Piet Mondrian , a Dutch Artist, and one of the founders of De Stijl (the Style) along with Theo van Deosburg in 1917. They launched an art magazine but soon become a full pledged Art movement.

2017 was the year when this art movement celebrate its 100 years since its founding date. I thought it was clever enough to use it as an inspiration Spring garden design in Keukenhof Gardens. Mondrian Dutch design is quite famous for its simple but strong features. It also includes a style based on pure Geometry, using the primary colors red, blue and yellow with non color shades of black, white and gray.

One thing that distinguish Mondrian from the others is that, it only uses rectangles and straight lines to accentuate harmony and order.

So when I saw this design in Keukenhof Gardens, I know it´s Mondrian! So aside from the Delft Blue inspired spring garden, Dutch knows really how to really wow the crowds. An area of 250m2 rectangular flower beds are filled with gorgeous red, yellow, white Tulips and thousands of Blue Hyacinths.A special feature is the famous chairs designed by Rietveld.

Art should be above reality, otherwise it would have no value for man.”

The Art of Mondrian inspired gardens

Mondrian´s technique is really into abstract paintings and using squares and triangels but actually he loves nature. He loves to paint Trees in particular. His painting style is reducing the form and color to their essence. His works are well known because of his line compositions and planes in black, white, red, yellow and blue are celebrated around the world. Even today, they inspire artists, architects, and designers. His style is very clear in these flower arrangement.

Gerrit Rietveld said, “We must remember that ” Sit” is a verb too.” In 1918 he had a poem incised on the underside of his Red and Blue Chair that read, “When I sit, I do not want to sit as my seated flesh likes, but rather as my seated spirit would sit, if it wove the chair for itself.” The work and the philosophy it expressed became canonical to de Stijl.

Mondrian was actually inspired by Cubism, a movement initiated by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque that used multiple perspectives.Then of course we had more time to admire other things than art.

After I enjoyed some art and nature of course there´s always time to adore some animals in the Animal meadow, particularly the beautiful Peacock. Look at her feathers…isn´t she lovely?

Have you ever watched a Peacock dance?

My painting style is actually not like Mondrian since I don´t use Geometry in my abstract painting, but then I love the primary hues of Blue, red and dark yellow.Using this as inspiration, I created this piece with an image of a purple tulip. Still thinking of putting it in this frame or better be in gold frame…I am still undecided.

Any thoughts…?

I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers ” -Claude Monet

Do you have any particular favourite Artist or painter?

Until then, thank you for dropping by…Tschuss!

Why we love Miffy more than Barbie

Playing with Miffy

Do you know Miffy?

Miffy or in Dutch calledNijntje is a character created by Dick Bruna, a Dutch children´s book author and illustrator .He have written almost 30 books about different adventures of Miffy.His books were translated into 50 languages and have sold more than 85 million copies worldwide.In Holland alone, Miffy is a part of every child´s imagination and childhood.

Well,Miffy is a girl white Bunny wearing a little dress. Before I thought it was from Japan or somewhat similar with Sanrio and Hello Kitty but then I was surprised that it is of Dutch origin. Miffy was created in 1955 in Egmond aan See , the place where Dick Bruna painted Miffy for the first time, so that makes it 66 years old now .

My daughter loves Miffy and grow up with it.I love how simple the character, uncomplicated,and perfect for every little minds.Her books tells about children´s daily activities like going to the zoo, Miffy´s birthday, at the playground, in the snow, etc.The layout of the books is also very simple, with primary colors mostly, plus images of Miffy is so sweet.It is really a book for children. My daughter loved it,she is a voracious reader,and when she found a good book, she´s absorbed with it.

Now that she is 6, she is crazy about Ninjago and Lego but then she reads more further, with topics of History and Science. The truth is she never liked Barbie or any other dolls.One time she was given a Mickey mouse stuff toy but then she doesn´t like it and I don´t know why. I find it funny at first but then I realized that her preference was really not on girlie things.The first time that we have met Miffy was 2015 in Amsterdam . Luckily, it was there that they held the Miffy Art Parade to commemorate the 60th years anniversary .Rows of Miffy statues were displayed right in front of the Rijksmuseum and it was wonderful experience to see different Artist´s interpretation.

But then seeing more of Miffy up close and personal in the Miffy Museum in Utrecht is far more than we´ve expected. If you have kids, I am sure you would love to bring them here.We love the Easter Bunny in Easter, but then, we appreciate Miffy in so many ways.

Here are some snaps I took of our visit in the world of Miffy and her friends in the Museum.

The Miffy school , where children learn some new things everyday.
Just as Dick Bruna say ” Each book begins first with a little idea…
After drawing, children can hang their own artwork in here

The whole place is really a miniature world for children. Everything is built as per children ´s ergonomics and function. It´s quite lovely to walk into this place realizing how great the world is, from a child´s view.No worries, no social distancing,everything is beautiful, safe and yes–no fear of virus whatsoever! Mini houses, kitchen,garden, animal fun zoo, art room, play areas and many more are just some of the fun places where children can experience the basic things in life as they grow. It´s a lovely place where they can feel “I belong here” or” this really fits me..”

This is the first time when we have met “Miffy” , aka Mr. Manhattan , Miffy statue here is painted by Selwyn Senatori, depicting his love for a Good Life, or Dolce Vita.

We´ve got ourselves our own Miffy, the one painted by Mies van Out, “Ik voel met zo” or ” I feel so..”. Funny, but according to Chinese and Japanese Astrology, the author Dick Bruna was born actually in the Year of the Rabbit.

” I create a world that children fill with their imagination…” -Dick Bruna

Playing with Puppets with an audience!

Before Corona, taking videos and photos inside the museum is still alowed, but then nowadays to avoid congestion, it is prohibited. I got lucky that I was able to take some snaps of the museum and how does it look inside.We practically spend half of the day roaming around here and exploring the place.My daughter can´t get enough of each room, so she would go back a few more times. It was not particularly crowded that time so we even have the room just for ourselves.Also, I´ve noticed that there were quite a lot of Asian tourists, knowing that Miffy is quite famous, especially in the UK and Japan.

Children unleashed their energy and hop from here to there and just having fun.It was really a day full of fun and creative playing.

In the Netherlands, Miffy is known as Ninjtje,derived from the Dutch word ” Konijntje“, known as well as le Petit Lapin in French.

While waiting for our turn to enter the other side, we roam around the grounds near the museum.The views around Utrecht is pretty amazing and has a very coolSpring vibes. There are lots of trendy shops along the canal and it is not so crowded as in Amsterdam.People sit by the canals ,families eating toegether, drinking, and enjoying some cool spring sun. We busied ourselves admiring the Dutch gable houses and people watching to kill time.

Our favourite so far was the room where children can dressed up as doctors and nurses and play pretend going to the doctor . She had so much fun wearing all those costumes and I just can´t stop smiling how fun it is to let her go by her own imagination. How sad this simple fun cannot be enjoyed by children now because of Corona restrictions….

I wonder when can we go again to such places without the fear of being infected and enjoy the fun while traveling...

Miffy is practically everywhere!

Of course, there is a Miffy souvenir shop and cafe adjacent to the building .The shop offers almost everything from books, to tshirts to pens and mugs. I love their children´s Miffy necklaces and lamps. It´s really a one stop shop and a great place to shop for souvenirs and gifts. The museum restaurant offers a good coffee and Dutch cakes, organic juices and a wide outdoor play area for kids as well while their parents can have a breath of fresh air. A bonus,they even served Miffy pancakes!When you are in Holland, you´ve got to try their Dutch apple pie, it´s really a piece of heaven!

The girl enjoying some fun outside in the Cafe Centraal on a fine Dutch Spring!
One fine day in Utrecht
Miffy even has her own Van selling Ice cream, a Turquoise Miffy Van.

What a better way to end our trip is having some Miffy ice cream!

Do you also have a favourite childhood Book?

Until then, Tschüss!

Wordless Wednesday

Paper Art

Taking Flight higher like Dolphins

Dolphins taking a flight, shown in Tiergarten Nürnberg Dolphin Show in Germany

I love Dolphins, I think they´re the cutest animal.Watching a dolphin show is something that I really enjoyed, especially with my little one. Although I only began to appreciate Zoos only when I had a child, a a sight of group of Dolphins, Manatees and seals are always magical for kids. Wonder why it´s nice to watch them and their tricks–because it shows their intelligence being taught & trained.

My daughter says ” Mama, I love them because they have cool faces…and cool tails, nothing more.

I´m sure many people would opt to watch a Lion jumping into a ring of fire and applaud it, but me, I would rather choose a Dolphin show, together with sealions. Their movements, their graceful flipper moves, and yes, their adorable face.Looking at them, they can´t be physically looked unhappy. It´s like their smiles are built in, in their facial anatomy.

There´s really something about their face…and their eyes. I am sure if you look closely at their facial expression, you´ll probably understand what I mean. Watching them in small pools made me cringe in reality because I they don´t really belong there.Nowadays I really enjoy watching Bunnies running around in the park, I think they are really great out in the wild instead of being held in cages.

I really think they missed being in the ocean and swimming in the vast oceans beside the ships.In their normal habitat, they can swim for about 160km and dive very deep, but in an artificial pools and sanctuary, it ´s not just the same.

Imagine their Stress.

“Nobody should be allowed to have a baby until they have first been required to train a chicken.”

Dolphins are highly intelligent marine mammals, belonging to the family of tooth whales just like Orcas and Pilot Whales.My friend had the chance to swim with Dolphins and even ride them, I really envied her. That is one in my Bucket list so far. But I am afraid it could bite me–what if they get stressed when I touched them?

Watching them from a far really fascinates me.Come to think of it, they live quite long, more than 40 years so far. But when they are captive, they live twice less.No wonder they are one of the top animals faved by wildlife watchers.

But….reality bites, they are only motivated and trained because of one thing—the food.For animals, they care only for their prey- It´s their last chance to survive at least.

Flying higher like Dolphins

Who wouldn´t love their playful behaviour? their agility and their flying techniques. Crowds gather and give automatic applause when Dolphins take their flight and soar high—soaring out in the sky and making a vertical rise out of the water (spy-hop) and view their surroundings. It´s like watching how many people are clapping, cheering and yes–being in awe, seeing those children´s faces in shock and open-mouthed!

Am I there yet?

Aside from flipping through the air, they are born to be fast Sprinters.Bottlenose Dolphins are the one that are slow swimmers,around 2mph.They are carnivores,mainly eating fish and squid. They even have a technique to eat fish with the head first so the bones cannot hurt their throats..clever right? Just watch out closely in a Dolphin show, it´s how they do it!

Catchy, graceful tails

Dolphins use echolocation when hunting for preys. I was really surprised to know that given that they are smart animals, they are able to recognize themselves in the mirror. Meaning, they can see their own reflection!It´s funny to think that they can make half of their brain sleeping, and the other half functioning with one eye open, keeping eye on the group so they don´t get lost! Hahah

A trainer puts on a ring for a Dolphin Show in the Tiergarten Park in Nürnberg, Germany

“There´s no questions Dolphins are smarter than Humans as they play more…” -Albert Einstein

I´ve read that Dolphins and whales actually have a brains that is actually bigger in proportion to their sizes. You know what it means when they say you have a big brain–that means you are intelligent.No wonder….

“To get rid of depression, I swim with Dolphins…” -Patty Stanger

Writing this made me think of just how wonderful the job of a Dolphin Trainer. Does he get´s close and form a sort of connection with the Dolphins?or vice versa? It really takes commitment and hardwork since these animals have different personality. Just like taking care of a child, Dolphins need mental stimulation,physical exercise and care.

When it comes to taking their flight, they always made sure to make a grand entrance. No doubt why there´s even called a ” Dolphin-style gliding” in the field of Aerodynamics!

Bottomline, animals belong in the wild and no matter how high their flight is, it´s doesn´t meant that sky is the limit.I respect them more, knowing beyond what I know, this is not their world, but still, they manage and still soar high.

Have you ever seen a Dolphin show? what´s your thoughts about it?

This post is actually inspired by Lens-Artists Challenge #144 -Take Flight hosted by Tina. She has this wonderful theme for this week´s challenge. Check out her Post about the wild birds in Kiawah and be amazed!

Until then, Tschüss!

Ramadan-A day in the Life story from a Non Muslim

Fanous (meaning Light or Lamp in Arabic) is an important symbol during the holy month of Ramadan. These colorful lanterns gives Ramadan a symbolic mood.

I could write a novel about my Ramadan day to day experiences while living for a long time in the Middle East. But then, summing it up, I decided to write it like a day in the life of a Non Muslim surrounded with Islamic culture.Good thing I have taken lots of photos to remind me and yes, as I look back in it, I still think it was all wonderful experience.

I am grateful , I am really glad.

A lady in black Abaya in front of the Murals with Arabic calligraphy

I was born Catholic and growing up with Christianity doctrines made me feel odd when I was exposed to Muslim Culture and religion.Kuwait is a very conservative country and very traditional Islamic state.Islam is the predominant religion and Arabic is the preffered language. Though lifestyle is modern and yes very competitive, in Expat´s eyes, all of these are just temporary living arrangements.

But what ´s the first thing you think when you hear the word Ramadan? Ramadan is derived from the Arabic word Ramad, meaning “intense heat.” So like heat, Ramadan is a chance to burn away bad habits and carry positive ones throughout the year and beyond.

The month of Ramadan is beautiful, I see it as a solemn time of the year.It is a month of goodness and self-inspection.Inormally view my days as work-home statistics, but then during Ramadan, I felt kinda different.It´s not all about self-righteousness, but more of looking at yourself and deciding to do more good.I´ve got the feeling that during Ramadan, people around me just become conscious of others, they become kinder, and yes,more considerate.probably because this is the highlight month where most locals are serving others, donating help and to sum up--strive for repentance and be good.

A local vendor prapare for another busy morning day in the Souk. Dates (or tmar) is staple for Ramadan, and well known food preference in breaking the fast. It can be stuff with cream cheese or eaten as it is .Have read that the date fruit is mentioned 20 times in Quran therefore its closely related to Ramadan. It´s actually quite impossible without Dates during Ramadan.I love dates and I truly missed eating the good ones…

I know its Ramadan when I hear these greetings .”Ramadan Kareem“(or May Ramadan be generous to you) is a muslim greeting I have leaned from my colleagues at work and I think this is better than saying ” Sabah el Khair” ( or Good morning).Another form is also “Ramadan Mubarak” (Blessed Ramadan) and at the end of Ramadan, everyone greets with ” Eid Mubarak” ( Blessed Feast).But if you don´t speak any Arabic, you can just simply say “Salam“.

While I was running today, I saw a small leaflet attached to a tree stating well wishes for everyone for a safe Ramadan. I totally forgotten that this is the second year of the pandemic, and as well Ramadan for my Muslim friends.The holy weeks of Ramadan started last April 13 and will end on May 12 and yes, my Muslim friends are fasting!

Fasting for Muslim is not a way to lose weight, I am telling you, fasting and abstinence from sunrise to sunset is NO joke, it´s hard and not everyone understands it and thinks its ridiculous.

Living in Kuwait have exposed me to this culture though I am not a religious person nor an Atheist. But I do believe in one thing, ” faith without deeds is dead“. I grew up in a very conservative Catholic country so my background is quite a mixture of all the religious beliefs I have learned as a kid and growing up in a multicultural environment.Coming to Kuwait had opened my eyes even more to such beliefs and traditions.Above all, I love trying out new things and living as an expat taught me a lot about respecting my host country and its culture just like how I am embracing German culture now.

Anyway, for Muslims ( as I observed from my colleagues), it´s not really all about fasting.I really commend their discipline and perseverance.I see them still trying their best to do their job and not compromising. I never heard them complaining.After a while, I got used to their behaviour and avoid doing things that is not allowed during Ramadan. I am not forced to fast but we respect it and avoid recklessness, loud music, or eating in public. It´s against the law and you could be jailed if you violate it.We should also learn to respect prayer times. Afterall, everything is quite common sense and self-explanatory.

Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection and heightened devotion to prayer and repentance . I´m the only one at work that is not Muslim so everything was really new to me especially their bowing and reciting of Quran. In the office, it´s normal when the Quran is played.I find the whole thing ridiculous at first, but then through time I began to understand it all.They prayed numerous times during the day, starting at the break of dawn, but then during Ramadan, I observed that they do more. Most of my male colleagues take their yearly pilgrimage in Mecca and they really devote themselves to it. They saved money for it, and it´s a great achievement if they´ve done it.

At first I am quite excited when Ramadan starts because it means we need to work less.Many shops are closed during the day so people enjoy shopping until midnight and especially eating out in restaurants.Most restaurants have Iftar buffets and packages for companies, even Hotels offers the same.During this period, ( which practically lasts almost a month), our work schedule is shortened, and yes, we really have lesser output than the normal days. This means we need to do all the deadlines before Ramadan starts, and postpone all important meetings until Ramadan is over. Most inspections are preferably scheduled not on Ramadan, its quite normal. This also applies to all parts of the government since most of them worked only for 4,5 hours, maybe even less.Doing paperwork this time is hard because of timings.

There is an unseen sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness. We are lutes, no more, no less. If the soundbox is stuffed full of anything, no music,but if brain and belly are burning clean with fasting, every moment a new song comes out of the fire”. – Rumi

Through time, I have learned that true Fasting with intent is a privilege.I mean anyone can fast if they really want, but fasting without a meaning and purpose is just nonsense! It could even endanger your health.Abstinence is quite rigorous and requires a disciplined stamina.The period of 29 or 30 days—the dates change every year, following the lunar calendar of 13 months is pretty exhilarating.When your stomach is empty, your concentration might suffer and you barely can´t think.

Kuwaitis enjoy some leisure walks with Misbaha (Arabic: مسبحة mas’baha) in their hands. It has 99 pieces of beads corresponding to 99 names of God in Islam and 2 small beads separating every 33 beads.

The weather during this month is actually very warm, with average of 26 -38 degrees , humid & dust storms is frequent.After breaking their fasting, people usually went out to visit the Mosques, eat in restaurants for Iftar, meet friends , walk in the beach or just cool down inside the mall.

Busy Friday at the Souk (market)

I find it also worth mentioning that the Muslim´s tradition of breaking their fast is quite remarkable.It´s a holy ritual of gratitude and thanksgiving. ” Iftar“, the feast of breaking the fast after sunset marks a glorious victory every single day for every family. I have been invited in numerous Iftar, with close friends and their family and it is really amazing, not only the food but also the ambiance. Sharing a local Arabic home cooked meal is one thing that really bonds people and I give high thumbs for their elaborate food preparations. Arabic foods is really good and again, I kinda missed it all.I enjoy myself a platter of dates, nuts and their tea with cardamon and spices.

A local vendor selling the local ” Desert Truffles” which has become a delicacy in Kuwait.This is a traditional prized ingredients for Bedouins who loves to put these into their rice with meat dishes.Fresh Truffles are only available from November to April in Kuwait and the production highly depends on the precipitation.

As i said, ” Ramadan has the invincible power that brings people together” .Families, friends, colleagues sits together and share a meal, talking about the day´s about.It´s a time to focus on seeking forgiveness and being “kinder“. I was once in the Friday market and it´s about sunset so I really saw how normal people breaks their fast. They tedioulsy prepare their meal, pray together and they eat together. It´s very simple but really humbling to watch.One vendor laid out old newspapers on the ground and prepare the dishes elaborately. First the fruits, Laban or fermented drink juices, then some meat, vegetables and bread.I can see from their faces how grateful they are for this simple feast.Then they gather around , chatting and eat with their fingers.

Delicate detail of the walls of the Grand Mosque

In the arid, humid climate of Kuwait, it´s a tough challenge in the days of Ramadan. With scorching heat outside, you won´t even have the energy to go outside.The prayer times seemed like interruptions in our daily routines, but then it´s quite the opposite. My colleagues would get up and get their prayer mats and wait for others to gather around in the big hall patiently. They would do this every single day and watching them really amazes me.

There is no need to hurry, there is a time for everything under the sun.During Ramadan, time goes by slowly, but if you focus on your intent, you´ll realized that you have all the time that you need.

Muslims do the Salah (prayer) and goes to the Masjid together if they can. There are plenty of masjid and prayer halls in Kuwait, even inside malls they have it.In the Grand mosque, they have these racks of slippers to wear after they removed their shoes and washed their feet. The “Fajr“(Sehar) at dawn, the early morning prayer is the start of their spiritual journey during Ramadan.My friend who converted into Muslim since her husband is Muslim would wake up an hour early and gather her children to get some “ Suhoor” to have something to eat .It´s a family ritual so they can have something to last as they go through their day.

They wash their feet and faces, and stand by each other. The color of your skin doesn´t matter. Your title, education, job or what car you drive.Once you´re inside the Masjid ( Mosque) , everybody is equal, everyone is bowing their heads and pray the same prayer, everyone looks up to one Allah.For a non -muslim like me,the sound of the prayer time is heard everywhere and it becomes a natural signal for me to take a moment as well and yes, take some time to meditate.

The next prayer time will be around noon, called “Dhur “(afternoon),so this is the time that I see them praying at work.Afterwards they continue reading the Quran or just meditate or so.Next Prayer time will be on late afternoon called “Asr“which I think is really difficult. By this time, I saw them that they are mostly worn out with fatigue and their energy level is low.For women, they busied themselves preparing for Iftar and wait until “Maghrib”, (after sunset) . After Maghrib, the family gathers around to eat Iftar. The last prayer time is “Isha” (night) .

At the end of Ramadan comes the big celebration of Eid el- Fitr. But this important date depends highly on moon sightings. I remember asking my colleagues how do they know when is Eid, and they told me that it depends on the appearance of the new moon so they usually wait until night to confirm it.

It´s bigger than Christmas I think. It´s a special day filled with celebrations among friends and families and people really take time off or go on family outings. Kids are showered with presents and some give or donate money to the poor.It´s very common as well that everyone dressed up extra on this day. This festive moment reminds me of children waiting to open their gifts left by Santa Claus on Christmas Day or Sinterklaas in the Netherlands.

Did you know that it´s common in the Gulf countries during end of Ramadan to pardon prisoners?

Everyone is just happy , and greeting each other ” Eid Mubarak” ! Most families exchange visits with each other and eating is non-stop. The food is really flooding. Women gets special Henna tatoos on their hands and yes, spends the rest of the day shopping with kids. Most of the shops, especially in Kuwait offers big sales .There is something special about Ramadan evenings, maybe because I just love seeing the lovely lights.

Lovely colorful lights at night
Quran

Because of the pandemic and corona restrictions, I guess it´s a complete Ramadan experience for my muslim friends, but then in solitude of lockdown, would even be more meaningful.

” Ordinary men hate solitude. But the master makes use of it, embracing his aloneness, realizing he is one with the whole universe.” –Lao Tzu

Have you ever tried fasting? What do you love to do in solitude?

Ramadan Kareem and stay safe.

Until then, tschüss!

Medieval Beer Fountain ( Bierbrunnen)

Waiting in line at the Beer Fountain (Bierbrunnen)

Let´s talk about Beer for a while and let me take you again to another fascinating, unique hidden gem in my old town, Ingolstadt. Germans take pride of their Beer, especially the Bavarians. One of the pride of the locals here in my town is the Georgianum Beer Fountain or what we also called in German “Bierbrunnen“.We have lots of Beer gardens but then this fountain is really special.

Well, yes, Beer is an important part of Bavarian tradition, especially here where the Beer Purity Law or Reinheitsgebot from 1516 begun. For locals here, Beer is an integral part of the daily life and people regarded it not as an alcoholic drink, rather a “staple food” or Lebensmittel.With this Purity law, it goes by the rule that only 3 key ingedients should be present in brewing beer.These are Water, Barley and Hops.

With this Beer Fountain, it looks rather more than a faucet per se, but then before it was really regarded as a sacred fountain where fresh water is dispersed and people quench their thirst here on hot summer days.This place was an old school then turned into Catholic Seminary and were later bought by the local Brewery Herrnbräu.On the Jubilee year anniversary special, a golden liquid started to flow giving this little nook a special charm for the locals and visitors.Of course, only the finest beer of 16 years of age flows in this fountain.

Beer Fountain or Bierbrunnen

Last 2016, we had a local celebration of the Jubilee Year of the 1516 Beer Purity Law.It celebrates 500 golden years of the Reinheitsgebot and to commemorate this event, the Beer Fountain was made.The event was actually very festive. Starting with the programme, parade, and musicals, the whole town is really very noisy and full of people.Recalling the times before Corona, we have yearly celebration for this.People dressed up in medieval costumes and made an reenactment of the old times where people gather around the fountain to have their drink. I think it was really cool and I am so lucky to have seen this. My daughter was really thrilled when she saw Knights, and people clad in vests, funky shoes, hats and yes, swords!

Mural Bronze made by Alexandra Fromm

This bronze Mural was designed by the artist and painter Alexandra Fromm from Neuburg an der Donau.Along with the 500 year anniversary celebration, the state of Bavaria also released a limited post stamp, and coins from silver and gold. I managed to go home with a Beer mug (Bierkrug) and the golden coins so that makes me happy!

My husband and few of our friends attended the Beer tour which caters the history of the different kinds of Beer and their brewing process. Of course participants were able to taste all of those beer so practically, this day is really a celebration of Beer! With all of these beers, from dark to light coloured ones, I always go to my favourite—the Pils!

Pils is invented by the world class Master Brewer from Bavaria, Josef Groll from Vilshofen.

Declaration of the Beer Purity Law with the Little visitor

The Beer Festival, together with the whole celebration was attended by so many people and there were beer stalls where people have the chance to know the Beer history. It was decorated with stalls, weapons, tents and a stage where the law was read and declared by the Duke.

I was totally shocked to found out that world record of 1.3 seconds is what only takes for an American man named Steven Petrosino to drink a whole maß of Beer! That is a big gulp of 1 liter of Beer! This record is still unbreakable…

I am not a heavy Beer drinker but when I came to Germany, I began to appreciate their beloved Beer drinking culture. Sitting in Beer gardens is a normal habit, it is super cozy and the whole family can totally enjoy it. Writing this post made me missed those times.Because of Corona, Beer gardens are closed .People dressed up especially on weekends, wearing Lederhosen and Dirndls, even the children are clad in Bavarian Tracht as well. Most Beer gardens has a corner for children to play so it´s really an ideal place for weekends.

And last thing, here in Bavaria, we say instead of ” Cheers” , “ Prost” !

Do you like Beer? or are you more of the Wine type?

If you´re interested for more Beer related stories, I have written quite a few of them ,feel free to read them if you have more time to kill.

The green Gold of Bavaria, the Hops

Beer Gardens and Beer drinking tradition of Bavaria

1516 Reinheitsgebot -Beer Purity Law in Ingolstadt

Until then, Danke und Tschüss!

Wordless Wednesday