“Cultural Grab Bag” Meeting

Carola Eijsenring

Carola Eijsenring

With a group of seven ladies, we gathered around one of the big tables in the Common Room to share beautiful personal stories. All the cultural objects or nice items we brought to the table, we hid under a cloth.

One by one, each of us pulled something from under the coverage and invited the person from who it was, to tell more about it. And so, we had a great afternoon, sharing surprising stories, warm memories and touching tales about our lives.

"Cultural Grab Bag" Meeting

“Cultural Grab Bag” Meeting

Kiran informed us about the intriguing red dot between the eyebrows, Indian women use as meaningful part of their ‘make –up’. She told us about the history and different meanings of it, as well about her own personal views on it and showed us the little package of red dots. A very interesting and informative narrative .. Thanks!

Kiran from India

Kiran from India

Nastya had brought one of her gorgeous little home-made booklets as an example of the way, she creates many personalized books. In the past years she developed more and more skills to bind, design and create these pretty books and shared with us how she does it and what materials she needs, up to all the way from the USA,  for her great hobby. Out of this, there might follow a workshop ’making postcards’ to get an idea how to start creating books as well .. more details follow in due time .. Thanks!

Handmade notebook made by Nastya

Handmade notebook made by Nastya

Iro’s ‘secret’ under the cloth was a package of strawberry teabags. The tea, which remembers her always of her beloved Sril Lanka. The special strawberry flavor, the tea plantains high up in the mountains and her dear memories of the times she and Shakith were dating in those early days, in those awesome fresh and pure places. And we were invited to taste of this lovely aromatic tea .. Thanks!

Strawberry teabags from Sri Lanka

Strawberry teabags from Sri Lanka

Lu Rong’s story was also about love. She let us listen to her favorite song on her phone. This beautiful love song was sung by a Chinese singer. It was the song that supported her throughout the years, when she and her boyfriend lived about 15 hours travelling from each other. It comforted her all the way and remembered her of those early times, when their love had just started to flourish and they had to overcome these first years which have made their love so strong. Thanks!

Favorite song for lonely times

Favorite song for lonely times

Irina was next. She had her own ‘grab bag’ with her, with different precious objects which she and her husband had been given at their farewell party in Russia: a pretty little box with Russian soil from their garden, some nice pics and a beautiful painted drawing and an envelope full of touching, warm letters of her friends, to be opened after she arrived in Eindhoven, whenever she felt settled. And so, Irina decided to open the letters the day before our meeting and shared the dear valuable comfort with us .. Thanks!

Soil from the garden in Russia

Soil from the garden in Russia

Jessie had brought with her a ‘golden sentence’, a motto, which has helped her many times in her life, when she’s feeling in doubt or in distress. The meaning of this sentence is about recognizing the ‘gift’ in any odd or awkward situation you find yourself in from time to time. Whatever comes, it’s up to you to make something out of it. An encouraging advise of her mother to her and from Jessie to her own children, to try and keep an open eye in whatever difficult patches in life, for the potential new chances in them as well .. Thanks!

Golden Sentence by Jessie

Golden Sentence by Jessie

And then in the end me as well has been asked by the others to reveal my cultural treasure. I didn’t put anything under the cloth, but told them that I could now have covered all of us around the table with this cloth, because that is what I have been given in life, by my upbringing. To gather people from all over the world and arouse stories to share, just as I grew up with. Me and my extended family are mixed in cultures, religions, languages, and live spread over the world, ‘in diaspora’ so to say. Me myself as well, we moved from place to place in different countries all the time when I was a kid, and had never a chance to root, but in ourselves, in our own community, because there is no piece of land which we might call ‘our’ homeland. That has made me who I am, and that’s why I always will create ‘nests’ where whoever, from where ever, with whatever life story will be welcomed!

HOME

HOME

And so we wrapped up a beautiful intimate and warm meeting of touching storytelling 🙂 !

Carola Eijsenring