Saturday, 29 September 2012

Iran and Israel – Flashback Friday

In 2004, I had a vision - a dream, if you will.

I had a vision that the Rainbow Family Gathering could happen in the Middle East - in a place where both Israelis and Iranians (and Syrians and Lebanese and Jordanians and in fact all the world) could come and gather together in peace.

I shared my dream at the council at the World Rainbow Family Gathering in Costa Rica (this is the council where it will be decided in which country the next World Rainbow Gathering would be). I said Turkey (the country, not the bird).

A lot of people argued against me. A lot of people said I was crazy - they said you can't have a Rainbow Gathering in Turkey - Midnight Express, Muslims, Military state... They said there is no way any Middle Eastern people would come. They said it would be a disaster and that there was no way Israelis would be able to be at a festival peacefully with Iranians.

At that time, I didn't personally know any Iranians, but I held my vision, I spoke my dream. And some people caught on. The council reached consensus, and the gathering happened.

I got myself to the Middle East, I walked my talk and went to Turkey to help find the place for the Gathering to be held. I spread the word, I promoted it. And I went there, with Littletree – she was two at the time.

It was a beautiful place in the mountains of Southern Turkey. There was people from all over the world - Australians, Americans, Canadians, Germans, English, French, Italians, Kiwis, Turks... about 40 countries were represented, in fact. And lots of Israelis. We all had fun, we sang songs and at food together and camped out.

main circle

And then one day, about a week into the month-long festival, a big truck drove right up to the main fire area - we ran over to ask the truck driver to leave, because Rainbow Gatherings are car-free zones; there's a car-parking area a short walk away, but we had problems with locals driving in all the time.
But before we could say anything about the truck being in what we feel is a sacred space, people started pouring out.


Twenty-one Iranians, men and women. They'd heard about the gathering and come together, caravanning all the way from Teheran. They'd been travelling for a few days in trucks, and they'd brought a king's ransom of food to share (dried fruits and nuts from Iran, and spices to start a chai tent).

They poured out of that truck, and kissed the ground, and we crowded around them and hugged them, and cried "Welcome Home!" (because that's what you say to newly arriving people at Rainbow Gatherings.)


And before I knew it, there was a mob of Israelis hugging Iranians hugging Israelis. And Germans. And Aussies, and Dutch and South Africans and Turks and Danes and Swiss... And we were all just people.

In the days that came, the Iranians set up a camp and started hosting parties and serving food and chai (in Rainbow Gatherings, everything is shared freely; there is no commerce). And friendships were formed.

sequoia ela old matey

Someone called for a "talking circle" (basically a group meeting where people sit in a circle and take turns talking) to discuss Peace. It was mostly Israelis and Iranians that came.

Virtually every one in that circle - Iranians and Israelis alike said the same thing:
"I grew up thinking the others were evil people who just hate us and want to bomb us, and we only want peace, I had no idea that the others are people just like us, who also want peace."

So many tears were shed, so many hugs were shared, and so many deep friendships forged.

This was my vision, and it carries on today - the "Peace in the Middle East" Rainbow Family Gatherings are still happening every year, mostly in Turkey, and I now have many friends from Iran, and from Israel.


Let go of your politics, let go of fear, let go of assumptions and media scaremongering and hate. Let go of fear, and see that we are all just people who want Peace.


And I’m not the only one

Monday, 24 September 2012

Spring Roll-out

Since we just celebrated the Vernal Equinox, and have unrelatedly been learning about culture along the Mekong River, Littletree and I decided to make fresh Spring Rolls.

Starting with making some fillings – we took fresh veggies, chopped finely with some pre-cooked rice noodles.


Then Littletree had the task of spooning little portions of the filling into rice paper pastry sheets and rolling them up


Eventually we had a feast’s worth – don’t they look pretty!


Then into the wok


Littletree handled the frying admirably


And the end result – a huge stack of awesome


Mmmmm they smelled so delicious


But the final test was in the tasting, and Littletree is a very fussy food critic. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a comment from her, as she didn’t pause in stuffing her face with the spring rolls for long enough to get a word in.


Later, she did wax lyrical about how amazing they are, and begged me to promise we’ll make more soon. Yum!

Happy Spring!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Guess who came to dinner

Littletree’s grandma, my mother, came up for a visit this week.

We haven’t seen her in a long time, so Littletree was totally ecstatic to spend some time with her grandma.


We hung out, caught up, and just spent some quality time together. Mum was very impressed with Littletree’s current projects, and spent some time with Littletree doing some reading and writing.


We went around visiting the local area, including exploring the incredible dragon gardens at a local castle


Littletree especially loved the gardens – like being a princess and a dragon-whisperer all in one.


And most of all, it was great to spend some time with my family


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Summer Surf

Now that the weather is getting warmer, we’re going to the beach a lot more, and Littletree is getting really confident on her boogie board in the surf.



I see many more beach days in our future… and perhaps a full-sized surf board…


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Painting with light

Littletree has been learning about light – the speed of light, how it travels, waves and rays, which led to all sorts of discussions – tying in her love of astronomy when we talk about how long it takes for the light from stars to get to us, and then we got into photography.

Being a child of the digital age, Littletree has almost no experience with film or manual camera settings, but I studied photography in senior college – even had my own darkroom set up at one point, so we had long talks about shutter speeds and apertures and light.

And even though my camera is a simple compact digital jobbie, it still has manual setting options, so we got to playing with long exposure times and painting with light.


Littletree was instantly captivated


She spent ages experimenting with different long-exposures and different light-sources, and different inspirations.


I suspect these experiments are not yet over, but at last she managed to get the result she was after



Tuesday, 4 September 2012

At the heart of science

Since Littletree’s recent foray into dissecting brains was such a success, we decided to get to the heart of the matter, and dissect some hearts.

***again: graphic pics warning, don’t scroll down if you’re squeamish, instead, peruse this old post which includes a very cute picture of Littletree***

So back to the butcher for lamb’s hearts, and out with the science lab equipment!


Littletree was really excited to see all the different chambers in the heart, and how the bigger blood vessels feed in and out of the chambers. We learned about how the valves work and how the muscle pumps.


We got out some medical books and learned about the heart in humans and various genetic disorders, and the whole circulatory system.

And as always, Littletree got out her microscope and made up some slides to look at heart tissue.


Apparently I now need to source bovine eyeballs for dissection. I swear this wasn’t in the brochure when I signed up for parenting.