Sunsets and pastels

Dream your dreams, dearest child, as you paint the sky with your colours.

See, you can be anything. You can paint and create anything your heart desires, dearest one.

You may not draw the picture with paint, crayons or pencils, but you draw with words.

You see the world, and you see pictures of love. Of hope. Of joy.

Dearest one, tell those stories with the hope, love, and joy that you feel. So paint the sky with your words, paint each and every cloud with love.

Paint the sky. Draw hope in the stars. Draw the smiles and laughter of loved ones in the sunshine.

Draw the joy you feel, the anchoring feeling of digging your toes in the sand when you watch sunsets.

Because those are the stories that come alive every time you see a sunset whenever you look out a window, dearest one.

Yours,
Sophia x

berlin-liebeheart

Dear Berlin

“You are crazy my child, you need to go to Berlin.” – Franz von Suppé

Dear Berlin,

It’s been a while since I’ve last visited you, but I’ve been thinking of you recently.

Thinking about the memories I’ve made over the years surrounding by the grey concrete, the red symbols from the communist age and the dirty snow covered pavement.

A cityscape where nowadays you see more greenery is poking its head around the corner, between the tall grey buildings, as if to say “Hello”. No matter what season it is.

Memories made in a place with its history deeply seeped into the buildings, oozing through the cracks.

Thinking about whenever you take a walk through Berlin, and you’ll find something in every corner. Where the soundtrack to your walk is the many different languages being spoken. Where each suburb has its own little idea of what Berlin is about.

The rough edges juxtaposed with the smooth architecture of better times. Where the eccentric and crazy live alongside the ordinary. The loud sits with the quiet.

Where you have the possibility to quickly escape into the countryside, surrounded by the never-ending possibilities.

Where at the same time, you’re a city where you could quickly find where everything is happening.

Where independence runs through the city’s vein, that quiet restlessness against the feeling of being constrained by barriers. That quiet beating of an independent heart that saw a wall torn down.

Memories made in a city that shaped you. A city with all its quirks that somehow finds it’s way under your skin.

So until we meet again Berlin, I’ll keep those impressions close to my heart.

Yours,
Sophia x

liebeheart-teaching-narrative

Stories and identities

Narratives. They are what defines where you’ve come from and where you want to go.

It is a central part of your identity. Each story that is told by others to you shapes your narrative little by little as you make meaning of their story.

Stories are how you navigate the many paths to get where you are now. They are how you connect with people who might have taken a similar path or those who simply want to understand you.

Stories are what makes teachers who they are. Get a teacher to tell you a story of a class they taught, then you glimpse a summary of who they are.

Stories will tell you the hopes, fears and beliefs of the storyteller. We make meaning out of life through stories.

One of my uni tasks this week was to reflect on our own teacher’s identity, our own narrative. Sitting in a classroom, with people whose narrative seem to have been created quite easily, I felt myself asking – “What is my story? What’s my teacher’s identity?”

When my professional identities include a communications professional, a journalist by training, and an economist.

How do you melt these professional identities into a teacher’s identity?

I find myself asking myself in dark moments: “Can I call myself an economics teacher? A media teacher? A teacher?”

But this morning, I had a realisation.

Yes. Yes, I can call myself a teacher.

Because I’ve always been a teacher. It’s always been hidden in my personal narrative.

I remember being young, sitting next to mum as she was marking assignments and essays. Being allowed to spellcheck her PhD drafts as a child. Making my scribble marks in red pen as a toddler on mum and dad’s postgraduate work. (Unconsciously marking their work perhaps?)

I remember being 13 and teaching my baby sister how to say words. I remember helping her with her homework during primary school.

I remember teaching media relation workshops during university.

So I can say I’m a teacher because I’ve always been one.

What my teacher’s identity is, what my narrative is, is something I’m discovering more and more as I embark on my DipEd.

I don’t have a fully formed “this is my narrative” yet, and I don’t know (yet) what it encapsulates but I do know this:

I am an economics and a media teacher. I am a teacher because I want to teach kids something I’m passionate in. I am a teacher because I always want to encourage learning in our kids.

Yours,
Sophia x

(Feature Image taken by Steven Chew Photography.)

study-liebeheart

Dear study

Dear study,

Today I went back to study, back to late nights revising theory and expanding on it through written essays. Today I went back to learning, back to listening to copious information, analysing the data and churning back out my critical analysis of it.

I’d have thought that I would not want to enter back into the tertiary system so soon after 5 years of my undergraduate degree, but here I am. The first day of my postgraduate degree.

Today as I sat in a class learning (briefly) about instructional strategies, as I heard anecdotes from our lecturer’s own teaching experience, I was remembering my own schooling.

Remembering the teachers that made an impression, the teachers I didn’t like and the moments during class that I still remember.

I remembered how engaged I was in the subject because the teacher valued my opinion and encouraged it.

I remember the laughs and smiles in my English Lit class as we reenacted scenes to explore a topic.

I remember how frustrated I got when teachers ignored our feedback on the class, and how we felt like we were back on square zero despite months of hard work.

I remember feeling overwhelmed because I was taking longer to understand concepts. Yet I remember teachers encouraging me to keep on going.

As I sat on the train on the way back from my first class, I became determined to be the teachers that encouraged me, that valued my opinion and made learning fun. To be those type of teachers for the kids I teach.

To be a teacher that encourages them to be interested in economics and media beyond the classroom.

Yours,
Sophia x

liebeheart-travel

Dear today

Today is a travel day. Today is the day of saying goodbye to one world and then saying hello to another.

Today is the start of feeling that slight bit of nostalgia in my heart as I leave one homeland, to arrive in another.

It is having to accept that your time is over, that it’s time to say your goodbyes, time to say until next time, it was fun spending time with you.

Today I’m heading home, but with a suitcase filled more than just clothes, books, and presents.

Today I’m heading home, heart full of memories. Memories of my mum’s laughter as we’re having a snowball fight, of gingerbread men and mulled wine, of the cold seeping through into my bones. Memories of the smell of oranges, cinnamon, and cloves, memories of the taste of homemade potato dumplings.

Memories of the smell of my grandmother’s cooking, of dinners shared with friends, both old and new.

Today I’m heading home with a heart full of love.

Yours,
Sophia x

Dear 2017

Last year was a tough one for me personally.

It was a year of vulnerability, a year of losing things, a year of change. It was a year where I was diagnosed with depression, a year where my self-worth and self-confidence plummeting so low it became a year of wearing masks.

A year where it was easiest to believe in negative voices than in myself. Easiest to convince myself that because things outside my control were completely and irreversibly changed, I was worth nothing.

A year where I felt alone.
A year of darkness.

But in all that darkness, I found things again.

I found love.
I found my self-worth. I found my self-belief again.
I found light, just when I resigned myself to darkness.
I found my strength again.
I found my strength in my vulnerability.
I found strength in my words and most importantly, I found the strength within myself.

So, dear 2017, this year I am going to be vulnerable, I am going to be strong and brave.

This year, I’m going to surround myself and loved ones with love. This year, I’m going to walk a different road and grow into the person that I am. Be the storyteller that I am.

Yours,
Sophia x

liebeheart-stockholm

Dear Stockholm

I was sitting in my hotel room talking to my boyfriend about cities. Or rather, whether or not a city could be understood via its architecture.

About how I thought I knew Stockholm, but I came to the realisation that maybe I actually don’t. You see before I set off for Stockholm, I had this plan: visit Stockholm, reacquaint myself with the city and come out with a story. After all, I’m a writer and stories are my trade. It shouldn’t be that hard? Wrong.

The more I explored Stockholm, the more the story I thought I had changed shape.

I started out with this story of minimalism, of implacably dressed Swedes in clean, sharp gray, white, black or blue tones. Of Advent candles in the windows. Of quiet, reserved Swedes. Of a cultural history shaped by a monarchy, military and powerful elite.

But then I started to get to know them. I started to look at the architecture of high ceilings filled with laughter, chatter and Christmas cheer. I started to explore the Swedish nature and fell in love with the views, openness, and freedom that it offered. I started to explore the different suburbs and discovered the different cultural, historical and economic heartbeats that all blended and colour the story I was building in my head.

When I started my visit, I thought my previous visit and the stories I heard from friends and family have a good grasp on Stockholm. But at the end of my stay, I’ve realized that I’m still learning.

That’s the story I found in Stockholm.

Yours,

Sophia x