Poor Maxime, in his enthusiasm, ignored the fact that Thursday was a holiday in France. I, not without the “gentle encouragement” from my wife, decided to down tools for the day and switch off my phone. My days usually start at 5 am and on occasion finish at 8 pm, even if there are breaks in between. But I think Maxime’s maximising opportunities approach is noteworthy. Meeting from a dry riverbed, even after 30 years in this field, would be a first for me. Instead, I spent the day fighting weeds in the vegetable garden. It was enlightening.

Nathalie (in Seoul) and Ismar (in Brazil) are certainly rising to the challenge as we explore Confucianism together. The conversation is not only linguistically rewarding, but the content is exciting as well. Now, Cléa has entered the fray, adding a unique question on toxic social media and mobile phone use and Confucianism. “Is there a link between the two?”, she asks. Interesting thought.

Walter brings in the local Bavarian culture with a story about following a Beer Hiking trail, which, as I already know, takes an unexpected twist. You’ll have to continue participating in that thread to let it evolve.

Rosi’s minibreak story too is beginning to rise above the surface, like a tender plant, about to blossom.

It was Rosi (in Brazil) who raised the question of doing more than just what happens in our meetings. I rather brutally, and directly, responded by saying, I can only do so much. Brida provides a comprehensive environment for members to learn in English by using English. I can take the horse to the pond, but it must drink by itself. You can contribute to the Café Conversations, do exercises in the Learning Lounge and listen to podcasts. It’s all there. And the selection of meeting windows is going to be extended too.

That said, my long involvement with both Mercedes and Bombardier has taught me a thing or two about processes. There is now a Brida process in place. Roughly speaking, it works like this: Members introduce the subjects they want to talk about; the topic is shared with other community members; Sam provides useful information and when the discussion nears its natural end, it is transformed into something in the Brida Learning lounge. The virtual place for a cup of coffee and some brain food.

Like all good refurbishments, there is more work to be done. I have begun remodelling the Brida Café, Brida’s front door to the world, and I am still exploring the options with the Brida Journal. Like Brida, which never closes, everything still continues to evolve.

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