On Mother’s Day

One of the first things that children learn is to label the people (especially adults) in their lives.

Mum and Dad.

Aunt and Uncle.

And even as our world broadens and we meet more people, some related to us and some not, these four terms of address remain our most frequently used ones.

But do we ever learn what these terms really mean?

Do we ever teach our children more than simply which biological relative is entitled to which label?

Do we ever teach our children about the kind of roles and responsibilities each label entails? 

Continue reading “On Mother’s Day”

This Is What “13 Reasons Why” Really Teaches Us

If, like me, you have not finished watching the Netflix Original “13 Reasons Why” because you found the themes too confronting, the main character rather self-centred and most of the scenes overly dramatic, I will spare you thirteen precious hours of your life and tell you how the series ends: Clay Jensen realises that he could have prevented Hannah Baker’s suicide if he had only been brave enough to admit his feelings for her.

What a ridiculous notion, would you not agree? 

And yet, on second thoughts, the author may have a point. Continue reading “This Is What “13 Reasons Why” Really Teaches Us”

To All Struggling Students: On Faith and Studying

There has been many a book written and many a sermon served on the connection between spirituality and family life, in particular marriage and child-rearing. Motherhood is celebrated in many religions and marriage is presented as an essential to living a wholesome life. But what about those of us, who are too grown to be submitted to our parents’ will, but too young to have children to submit to our own will?

Is this season any less holy than any other season? In other words, is this time of our lives any easier or less difficult than other times?

Continue reading “To All Struggling Students: On Faith and Studying”

A Perfectionist’s Guide To Capsule Wardrobes

I came across the idea of a capsule wardrobe a few years ago and I have fallen in love with it (as well as the idea of minimalism in general) since then.

Eliminating the unnecessary clutter in our lives (both literal and metaphorical) to create room for the important stuff that we always seem too busy for? Yes, please!

Creating 20 outfits for all kinds of occasions, while owning 20 pieces of clothing? Teach me your ways!

After reading a bunch of different blogs, I have been able to considerably downsize my wardrobe. However, there is one thing that the perfectionist in me has had to accept (but not after a fair share of mental warfare). Continue reading “A Perfectionist’s Guide To Capsule Wardrobes”

Why We Should Celebrate International Women’s Day

I grew up in culture that celebrates International Women’s Day. And I mean really celebrates it: flowers, chocolates and cliché online greeting cards included. 

You see, “8th March” (as this occasion is known in Russian) is the Communists’ answer to Valentine’s Day.

And even though I am immensely grateful that the Communist era with its countless infringements of humans rights has passed, I am glad that “8th March” has outlived the Soviet Union and continues to be celebrated across the former Eastern Bloc. It is one of the very few things that the Communists got right and, in fact, I wish that the West would learn from them.  Continue reading “Why We Should Celebrate International Women’s Day”

Short Story: A Different Imagination

For as long as I can remember, there have always been two frames of photographs in our living room. The large one contains many different photos of many different relatives at many different times. (My parents believed that I should know the names and faces of my relatives, even though it is unlikely that I will ever meet most of them; as a little girl, held in my mother’s arms so that I could see the photographs, I could name the relatives pictured, while my father recorded the scene on a rented video camera.) The smaller frame contains a photograph of my mother’s grandmother. It hangs below the larger frame, as Belarusian superstition dictates that photographs of deceased individuals should be placed lowest. The palm-sized square photograph has flown with us across the oceans and the deserts to Australia. Every morning when I walk into the living room, it is there on the mantle piece, reminding me that somewhere, in a land I can only imagine, there lived a woman, whom I would have liked to have met before she passed away. Continue reading “Short Story: A Different Imagination”