1 May 2019. Reviewed by Anita James. The book is a deceptively easy and amusing read about a brilliant and creative architect, Bernadette, who suffers recurring traumas from the wanton destruction of her revolutionary architectural creation, the move to an alien city, and after repeated miscarriages, the dangerous surgeries on the infant that was finally born.
One can get PTSD for less, and indeed Bernadette shuts out the world except for her immediate family, and then devotes her life to raising her daughter, Bee. Bee is a bright child who sees in her mother not an eccentric woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown, but a fun and magical creature who will always have her back, and would never ever abandon her.
On this basic story line an unconventional and quirky book is developed. It is told in a multitude of voices through mediums from emails, letters, narration, phone calls and even secretarial and hospital bills.
Yet the author nevertheless keeps the tale flowing, guiding it through a bewildering number of topics: brilliance, creativity, eccentricity, high tech, Microsoft, agoraphobia, misanthropy, architecture, Russian mafia, Antarctica, psychiatric care, modern parenting, American education, snobbery, Seattle, Canadians, family relationships and even self-help groups such as the amazing VaV – Victims against Victimhood, not to mention adultery and leaking roofs.
After a hyperactive beginning, Bernadette disappears but Bee absolutely refuses to accept the vanishing and after assiduous detective work goes all the way to the South Pole to find her mother.
And there she is, happily involved in the challenges of polar architecture. Creativity, her raison d’etre restored, she can face life again and Bee gets her eccentric family back together. Kudos for Maria Semple for a vertiginous ride brought to a safe end.
#bookclub #tilburginternationalclub #expatlife #WheredYouGoBernadette
13 Apr 2019. by Essi Koskela. Right before noon on Saturday we gathered near the Spoorzone in Tilburg in the hip-looking studio Sooss, which many of us had been hoping to get a reason for to visit. Amazingly, everybody was on time, and after some review of yoga histories, we moved to the cozy classroom on the second floor, just big enough to host the eight of us.
We settled on our own matts, or the ones provided by the venue, and sat down to enjoy the daylight and view coming into the room from the big windows covering one side of the room. The atmosphere was tuned by the relaxing music playing during the class, accompanied by the sounds of the city and the ongoing Roadburn festival outside. Cross-legged, we began with breathing exercises.
The class represented the “hatha” style, which is one of the broadest and most allowing style descriptions for the physical practice of yoga. In our case, it described a gentle flow between stretching positions, with a couple of sun salutations and balancing poses in between. So what is specially “detox” about it? “Detox yoga contains relatively high amount of twists, which massage the liver and kidney”, our teacher Mihaela Anohina explained. We were literally squeezing the toxins out of our bodies, or at least concentrating our minds on it. Folding into, and out of, various asanas may have required more effort for the beginners in the class than for the experienced practitioners, but luckily Mihaela readily offered tips on how to ease up the tasks in hand. The class was enjoyable for all levels and participants, women and men alike (or one man, in this case).
Class ended traditionally with us laying down in the final savasana, dead man’s pose. Lying in the floor may not sound comfortable, but resting after such a yoga class is one of the most relaxing experiences available, perfect after a busy week.
As promised beforehand, we were offered accompanying tea, which turned out to be a special type not readily available in the Netherlands. Although the advertising speech for the tea mentioned mushrooms and aroma of the ground, the feeling of the warm tea was very comforting and the taste was surprisingly subtle. After thanking the teacher and ourselves for the wonderful practice, only one question remained: When should we do this again?
#tilburginternationalclub #yoga #English #expatlife #hatha #detox