Tuesday, May 11, 2021

TCK Mystery interview Part 3


I'm continuing my interview with Annie Young, heroine of the Third Culture Kid mystery series. She's a free lance tech writer, amateur detective and amateur historian.

Me:         Tell me about your experiences at the Paris dig.

Annie:     It started badly. My boyfriend forbid me to go on a dig near the Sorbonne. He was jealous of my ex-lover, Luca, who headed it up. That and the fact Luca is drop-dead handsome didn't help.

Me:         What did you do?

Annie:     I went any way. Roger and I have an off and on relationship and the major problem is he wants me to be a traditional woman. Tisn't me.

Me        There was a murder...

Annie:       Yes, it was a dig volunteer who was an ex-lover of Luca. And there was a second murder.

Me:            Did that stop the dig?

Annie:        It slowed it down, but we'd made some exciting discoveries -- traces of a priest who was studying in Paris. Based on what we found, he may have had a girlfriend. She may have been pregnant. I did some additional research and found he may have gone on to become a pope. I need to do more when I have a chance.

Me:        Why were you digging?

Annie:    They, they being some apartment conglomerate, wanted to put up a building, but the government needed to make sure there were no historical treasures. The only reason I was asked to join was that Luca knew me and thought I'd enjoy it and could add something to the team.

Me:        Do you like Paris?

Annie:     I adore it. I've had several longer-term assignments there and have gotten to know it fairly well. Thus when Luca asked me to join the dig, even if it was non-paid, I jumped at the chance. I stayed with a friend. That's the advantage of doing what I do. I make enough to not work and follow my passion which is historical research?

Me:        Have you ever thought of teaching?

Annie:    (Shaking her head so vigorously that her red curls bounce.) Too confining. It's nice to be able to visit different places, different countries, use my languages. Would you like to hear about my experiences on Insel Poel?

Me:        Tomorrow. I have another appointment in a half hour and I don't want to rush talking with you.



Monday, May 10, 2021

TCK interview Part 2

Annie Young, a Third Culture kid, tech writer, amateur detective and historian is talking with us about her adventures. She is the heroine of my mystery series, www.donnalanenelson.com available at various locations. She's in her early thirties and has long red curly hair and a smile that's never far from her lips. My goal was to talk to her about the various murders she discovered.

Me: How did you end up in Caleb's Landing. After all you'd been living in Southern France and taking short-term tech writing assignments in various European cities.

Annie: My dad had sold his business and they were happy living in Geneva, but he had inherited this house in Caleb's Landing from his aunt. My folks, who hadn't lived in the States for at least 20 years, decided to spend a year there. I was between assignments and wanted to spend Christmas with them.

Me: What was it like?

Annie: Caleb's Landing? A typical New England coastal town. In summer plenty of tourists, but the residents take over in winter. I loved it. In many ways it was like I'd imagined New England. My dad lined up with many of his buddies he knew because he'd spent summers there.

Me: But then you discovered a skeleton in a hidden room in the basement.

Annie: That was a shock. We thought it was a runaway slave because of the clothes and a diary by a slave. I was fascinated by the diary. We jumped to the conclusion it was part of the underground railroad. Then we realized there was a modern underground railroad under our noses, but not in the basement.

Me: I don't understand.

Annie: One of the women got to know was Magda. What a force she was. She was running an underground railroad, so to speak, for abused wives.

Me: Didn't you have some history project too?

Annie: One of my dad's friends was upset at the quality of history taught in the schools. He was on the school board and hired me to create some material that went deeper than was being taught. That ended up to a be a major political problem. Between everything, it was nothing like the quiet family holiday I expected.

Me: It sounds like . . .

Annie's mobile rings. She apologizes and leaves the room to take the call. She is back in two minutes.

Annie: I'm sorry, I have to run. Can we pick this up another day?

Me: Of course. I'd like to talk to you about your experiences in Southern France. 

Annie: (Sigh) I still feel sad about my friend who was murdered. He was a priest. I still miss him. On the other hand, that's where I met the man I married, a retired flic, cop. Yes, I'll talk to you. Let's meet in the café on the corner tomorrow.

Sunday, May 09, 2021

TCK Interview Part 1.


D-L Nelson is the creator of the TCK mystery series. This is the first in a series of interviews with Annie Young, Third Culture Kid, amateur detective, amateur historian and free-lance tech writer and the heroine of the series.

Me:       Can you explain what a third culture kid is?

Annie:   Sure. It is a person born in one culture and they move to another country. They aren’t truly a part of their parents’ culture nor totally a part of the new one.

Me:       So that’s what happened to you?

Annie:   And then some. I was a eight-year-old, happy kid growing up in Maynard, Massachusetts when my father’s company transferred him to Amsterdam. Suddenly, I’m in a Dutch school. It took about six months before I was speaking the language.

Me:       Must have been hard.

Annie:   It was, but I adjusted more or less. Then my father came home one night and said we were moving to Stuttgart, Germany. New school, new language. I guess learning German was easier because it was closer to Dutch than if I’d gone directly from English. My mom had a tutor three times a week for both of us. She’s an artist and like me felt somewhat isolated.

Me:       Why didn’t your parents put you in an international school where English is the language?

Annie:   They thought being bi-lingual or multi-lingual would have great advantages when I started working.

Me:       So you’re trilingual?

Annie:   Quadrilingual. My father was then transferred to Geneva, Switzerland. French. This was our last move though. My father quit the company that bounced him around Europe and started his own technical service company.

Me:       Wow! How did you feel about all the moves?

Annie:   You sound like a shrink. At first I hated it and acted as a brat, but in another way it brought us as a family. My dad and I would go off on historical safaris to try and find interesting things from the past, and that was pretty cool. The real problem it took me years to feel as if I belonged any where and wasn’t an outsider no matter where I went.

Me:       How did that happen?

Annie:   I feel in love with a French flic, a cop.

Me:       And you’ve solved several murder mysteries.

Annie:   Only by accident being where people were killed. I mean what are the chances of visiting my folks and finding a skeleton in their closet?

Me:       We’re out of time, but we’ll pick this interview up tomorrow. I want to hear more about that skeleton.

At the beach and a nice bum


We debated not taking Sherlock to the beach when we woke to high, high winds then decided to go ahead anyway. So glad we did.

He got excited as we approached the parking lot and proceeded to try to qualify for a 5K race as soon as he was released from the back seat. 

We were slower walking, enjoying the sound of the surf and the smell of the water. We watched the skill of a wind surfer.

The umbrellas and refreshment stand have already set up for the tourists that will come if/when shutdowns are eased.

Breakfast cravings caused us to head home, but not without a short walk through the flowered dunes first. 

Back at the car, the wind surfer was changing his clothes. The French have never been shy about stripping at the beach. Although he was on the other side of his car, I had a perfect view of his nicely shaped rear through the side windows.

I guess I still have some inhibitions because I didn't call out as I wanted to, "Vous avez un beau cul," but I wasn't sure how rude the term cul was. I know in English there are different levels of meaning for bum, rear, butt and ass and when it is appropriate to use them. No French class will do the same for cul, feses, etc.

Better to behave like the proper lady my mother wanted me to be -- this time.

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Rock,scissors, paper

We had to be out of our showers by nine when the cleaning woman was coming, but at eight, the bed was warm and we had articles we hadn't finished reading.

Who would go first?

Rick: Your choice.

Me: Let's rock, scissors, paper. (I've used this method of decision making for years)

Rick: (Less enthused) You choose.

Me: Rock, scissors, paper.

Rick: Sigh. (Puts his fist out) One two three.

Result: Two scissors.

Me: One two three:

Result: Two rocks.

Me: One two three

Result: Two rocks. 

Me: One more time. (I lost, but the shower did feel wonderful. I can finish my article later)

Friday, May 07, 2021

Carpe Diem friends


We met the couple in an Argelès café and became friends. They lived by the beach in a tiny flat and wallowed in French culture considering their morning coffees gazing at the beach a treat.

We tried to copy their Tourist Tuesdays in explorations of wherever we were, although they did it better. Often writing got in our way but we managed to do more site seeing than before we knew them in both Argelès and Geneva area.

And we were sad when they had to return to the U.S. They had not planned on doing so.

They could have been sulky, but instead found a major project in the southwest and reveled in the scenery there much as they had done in Argelès.

The project finished they've settle in the Northwest, furnishing their flat with color and taste, finding interesting places to eat. She cooks and posts the photos of her gourmet meals. I can't look at the photos without imitating Pavlov's dog when a bell rings. I'll attest to her ability based on a donation she made to a pot luck I had and conversations about food.

I think of them as my carpe diem friends. They seize whatever good, interesting things come their way. 

Like every couple they've had challenges, disappointments, worries but they still carpe diem all over the place.

The set a good example for all of us to follow. Hope they come back to visit.

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Liz Cheney


Anyone who knows me considers me left. Don't stop reading because I said left. Not listening to anyone with a label is part of the problem the U.S. has.

I've been asked, usually by people in the American bubble, if I am a communist. 

Answer: No, I'm not

I'm a communications person, a writer, who when I listen to news casts and read news from many countries (US, Canada, England, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Germany, etc.), I weigh how the words were selected and used. Because of the variety of news sources, I may have a different perspective than people who only have one or two sources. 

I was sickened on January 6 at the insurrection in my birth country.

Raised in a middle-upper-middle class mainly Republican community, I have the values pounded into me by the propaganda I was fed. Most of the values, I still hold, but after living in several other countries, reading of autobiographies, biographies, economics (yuck), history perspectives and listening to many of the people* who have lived through what the books and documentaries are about, I'm even more determined to combine my values with reality to form a perspective.

I've not been a fan of Liz Cheney. I don't blame her for being her father's daughter. I disagreed with many/most of her votes.

However, I have nothing but admiration for her in standing up for the truth. Of course, the other side believes in their truth.

Why do I think she speaks the real truth not the truth manufactured by politicians and manipulated through media?

I believe she speaks the truth for statements from a whole herd of horses mouths calling for insurrection indirectly and directly. Because I believe in the verdicts of all the court cases that believed the election was not fraudulent. Because I believe news reporters from countries all over the world, who have no political axe to grind (hate writers who use clichés, but that one works well) who were there don't believe the lies. Because I see other politicians flip flop back and forth. 

Don't they know they were recorded saying the exact opposite just a couple of days before?

I admire that she is probably ending her political career and she is too intelligent not to know it. From her editorial in the Washington Post: "I am a conservative Republican, and the most conservative of conservative values is reverence for the rule of law. Each of us swears an oath before God to uphold our Constitution. The electoral college has spoken. More than 60 state and federal courts, including multiple Trump-appointed judges, have rejected the former president’s arguments, and refused to overturn election results. That is the rule of law; that is our constitutional system for resolving claims of election fraud."

She is putting truth before party.

It is too much to hope for that all politicians put their constituents and truth before the party? I'm sick of them all and sickened by them. 

It scares me when I see my birth country coming apart and the last thing it needs are liars manipulating the population for their own power battles when there is so much work to be done to make America really live up to the values I was taught by my parents and through out my public school education. Even if those could be tinged with wishful thinking, they are a great goal to work toward.

Thank you Liz.

*It is one thing to read about the Holocaust and another to help a colleague write her memoir about her mother being snatched by the SS on a street in Evian and sent to a concentration camp. I was taught belly dancing by a Palestinian woman who described the conditions in her homeland. A man told me how he was outside Nuremberg and watched the Americans bomb his city. 


Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Covid-lost and found



Rick:  The kids visited last year.

Me: That was two years ago. Last year was lockdown.

Rick: Last year was a lost year.

Me: I thought of it as a found year.

Perspective is everything. 

1. Yes there were things we couldn't do. We didn't travel to Toronto, Nova Scotia, Iceland, Ireland, Boston or Scotland. He didn't attend certain conferences which he attended almost annually.

  • 1A  Lost because we couldn't go.
  • IB  Found because they are still there. A chance to enjoy our memories of previous trips. We can look forward to them in the future: meals, walks with the dog, watching news or Netflix or TV or ... Reading future. We gained time that we didn't spend looking for dog sitters, packing, getting to and from...more peace.

2. Some things were almost normal. Since we are both writers, much of our time is spent together-apart, each at our laptops taping away. We read bed in the morning or before falling asleep at night or before an afternoon nap.

  • 2A Lost  Chance to take a break from our regular activities at will. See friends.
  • 2B Found  A recognition of how lucky we are to have what we have. When we see people we know in our quick trips for food, there is more joy--joy at a distance.

3. And there were different things: quarantine, curfews, closed stores, hand sanitizer, q-tips on steroids shoved up our noses to allow us more leeway than restrictions, masks, attestations before stepping out the door.

  • 3A Lost  Chance to shop. Wasting time thinking about tests, shots, getting to Geneva or Argelès. Having to go back home to get and masks and/or attestations which we forgot and didn't remember until we were half way down the street.
  • 3B  Found  Observations on how well set up for the shots and tests the vaccination and testing centers were. Chance to talk to different workers on why and how they are faring. Thinking about problems in WWII preparing papers, traveling, crossing borders were far greater.

4. Lack of restaurants, terraces and cafés.

  • 4A  Lost indoor meals at our favorite places in Switzerland and France and no chance to find new ones.
  • 4B  Found Appreciation of our favorite places that started take outs. Learned of a new food delivery service in Geneva that opened up all sorts of culinary treats. A way around by getting coffee to go and finding benches outdoors with friends sitting far, far apart.

Masks might be annoying, but there were the special masks my daughter sent decorated with our dog's photo. Because she was working at home, we got a chance to FB message more often for quicky catch-ups. 

Each day that passed where we didn't lose someone we loved to the disease, each day we stayed healthy, each time something opened up even for a short time was a cause for a mini-celebration.

The virus did not stop us from the beauty of the places where we lived. Our ability to entertain ourselves was not diminished and because our lives had slowed, there was a greater inner peace.

My feeling--2020 and so far 2021 is found time. My husband's viewpoint: https://lovinglifeineurope.blogspot.com/2021/05/lost-year.html?fbclid=IwAR3aQvtHl-fVNIJGKPOjgrdBel4lcv0trFh5_gnW5yTFrXoRPWwWN1uThlI