Fridays are statistics days. When Manfred enters the Brida Café, we ask him for the weekly statistics on his non-smoking campaign. Last Friday, we celebrated a milestone minus one day: 99 days since he quit the habit, making a total of 2290 cigarettes not smoked and €595 saved. In some German newspapers, there are pictograms displaying the country’s energy usage and things related. Its as spin-off from the pandemic statistics. Small numbers, when they are amplified, become tiny habits.
I spent a couple of very pleasant hours yesterday afternoon (Saturday) with William and his charming partner, Alice. William goes back a long time, and I had got my calculations wrong. He said we had first met about 5 years ago, just before his Rotary Club exchange in India. Covid seems to muddy the waters a lot. So, there was a lot to catch up on. Not only was there to get to know Alice, currently about halfway through her university time studying to become a doctor, but also William, during his year in India and then his readjustment to rural France after that and then the career path which India seemed to have nudged him into. For me, the chemistry seemed perfect, sitting in the garden on a warm summer’s day, two generations in dialogue which had me thinking that there was podcast material in all of this. William shared my sentiment, so watch this space.
After they had left, I sat down and listened again to the Tuesday Get Together with Igor, Ismar and me. For me, it is probably one of the best ones we’ve done. A serious but still light-hearted banter on the eve of Igor’s 32nd birthday. We lacked the ambience of the garden and the summer’s day, but the rapport we have managed to establish does offer some compensation.
On a totally different level, Niki brought in her thoughts about Summer Schools. It seems to be a topic over in Azerbaijan. The hidden theme here is really that chestnut about education. Once posted, I chose my audience with care. There is Julia, currently studying psychology and interested in educational psychology, and then Manfred and his colleague Martin. I have to admit, when I presented them with the options, either Walter’s seriously, horribly difficult Sip’n’Study or this challenging topic. Wisely, they accepted my bribe and so, by the end of Friday, Niki had three very different thoughts on her questions, whereby I think that we can all understand Sarah’s viewpoint. And all three enjoyed the content and the challenge of dealing with it.
Finally, we could welcome Temerlan to the community. He stands out for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, he is improving his German with me, but posting in English in the community and 99% of us reacted with “where” when he revealed that he is originally from Dagestan. I sense lots of stories here too.
Summers are for me a time to plan, dream and play with ideas on where I want to take Brida in the next 12 months. By September, reality bites and the cold, brutal nature of business rules again. But one thing will definitely survive. The values that underpin Brida. That we experience life’s richness, discover what is beyond any borders (mental and physical), bridge international divides and work towards cultivating a sustainable future.
And whether we sit in gardens, in the comfort of our own homes or in the less hospitable environment of offices, one thing unites us: thoughts, words and language.