Eight weeks in and it is definitely time for a retreat

The first few weeks in a new country are always a whirlwind of overwhelm. Not only do banks, doctors, local registration, public transport cards bikes, car and somewhere to live need to be organised … but for us, this time, back in The Hague since March, there’s more… One: transit accommodation. Being officially just Ian … More Eight weeks in and it is definitely time for a retreat

Lost in Berlin

I’m sitting in a café on Neue Bahnhof Strasse in the Friedrichshain area of Berlin. The window is strung with miniature coloured lanterns and tea-lights placed in old teacups filled with coffee beans burn on every table. There is a blackboard balanced on a radiator that reads ‘kalte Tage warme Herzen’ (cold days, warm hearts) and … More Lost in Berlin

Meeting Meeta

  I expected it to be steamy and hot, deafening with the shouting of orders, the clang of metal spoons against cooking pots and the incessant pounding of pestle against mortar. What I found instead was a haven of calm and happiness. What would you expect to find were you, too, to spend a morning … More Meeting Meeta

Loving and leaving

Suddenly the days have become sunnier and the trees more glossy. The food has become more addictive and the cheap massages and pedicures more tempting. I’m sure you can guess why… it’s because we know we are leaving. Partir c’est mourir un peu say the French. We Brits say, parting is such sweet sorrow. I’d … More Loving and leaving

That’s Malaysia!

It was ‘one of those weeks’. The kind that would have driven me to distraction had it not taken place in a laid back country where things go wrong, people break rules and old hands simply shrug and smile, saying, ‘that’s Malaysia!’ And though our problems were all car-related, instead of driving me mad, after three … More That’s Malaysia!

Finding my homeland

“Some places make you feel more full than others,” said Palestinian author, Nathalie Handal at last weekend’s third Georgetown Literary Festival in Penang. The theme of the weekend was irresistible to me – Hiraeth – a Welsh word that means longing for a homeland that is no longer there. Undoubtedly, this island is a place … More Finding my homeland