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A to Z at home: Cooking in Vancouver

The year of the virus has been a unique experience. It seems there is a pattern in their occurrence, at least when they are truly global, real pandemics. If their frequency is every 100 years (the Spanish flue in 1918, the First Cholera pandemic in 1817…), it is less likely for one person to experience such a horror twice in his/her lifetime. It is not like wars, certainly not like wars in Europe or particularly in the Balkan region, where one cannot live without experiencing war (unless dying from a disease or non-natural causes). (more…)

The first day

No sleep. My body (or my mind) doesn’t need a rest. It goes on and on. I tried with watching Netflix and it almost worked. But as soon as I closed my eyes, finally falling asleep, my brain was busy again and I was fully awake.

The sun was up, bright outside so I got up. Coffee on the terrace, looking at the water. Beautiful! Everything was nicer at the beginning of a new day.

The beach was so tempting and there was no real reason to resist. I changed and went out through the tiny door and white stairs, crossed the road, got on a narrow pathway that went to another flight of stairs carved into red, volcanic rock down to the beach. And the sea was waiting. Waves crashing on the rocks, sun coming out, still young. I could not smell the salt, but I knew it was there. I took of my shoes and walked barefoot on the the sand and water, timing my pace with waves.

I took photos of the horizon and red and black rocks. I took videos of that power coming in and bursting. I took it in slow-motion to feel the passage of time, wavers rolling in and pulling back. Watching them made me almost sea-sick and I remembered that vacation in Kavala when we kept jumping into the waves, over and over again, playing with danger of being pulled into, down, back to the vast of the sea. We were kids. We didn’t know the split second between being alive and beaming with joy, and being swallowed by a hungry mouth of the Aegean Sea. I lost my footing at some point and I remember that horrifying feeling of primordial fear. When I managed to come up, I stayed closer to the beach, in shallow waters. At the end of the day, when I went to bed, I was still riding the waves up and down, they kept coming at me. For the first time I experienced the sea-sickness, ready to throw up.

Long journey to the sun

I was so busy the day before the trip that I didn’t even have time for a sleepless night, or excitement about the journey. The morning began with a news about the flight being delayed for an hour. So, with scheduled 45-50 minutes of transfer time, we had very good chances of not making it to our connecting flight, which might have meant not even getting to Santorini on the day we were supposed to arrive. How many flights there are from Frankfurt to Santorini in a week? I didn’t want to think about it, as there was nothing I could do to change it.

Off I go, with my son driving me to the airport. I talk about watering the flowers, about the food in the fridge, about the bed sheets and washed laundry… He nods or responds with “yes, yes”, but I know he is not listening. I just hope my African violets will survive. The rest of my plants are more resilient and they will wait for me. It is still a nice feeling, that sense of pride, when your grown-up kids are doing what you have done thousands times before, helping them get to their destinations, driving them where they needed to go…

Bonnie is already at the airport and simply being together kills those 3 hours of waiting. I feel better now than how i felt last summer, when I took the first flight to Europe after the pandemic. More than nine hours on the plane was excruciatingly long after being at home for two years, or going for lengthy walks alone, around the neighbourhoods. Movie after movie, some chats, but no sleep. The pilot has made up for the delayed start but 30 min on Frankfurt airport is not enough.

We are running across the terminal. That gate A17 is so far away, this hallway, then that hallway, then turn left, take the escalators, then another set of escalators, then…. We can’t believe we made it. We crash in our seats on the plane to Thira, Santorini. I worry about the suitcases as there was very little time for their transfer from one aircraft to another, but you never know. We hope for the best.

The hope was in vain. As we watch the conveyor belt spit all types of luggage that is not ours, and notice less and less people around us, the belt stopped revolving. The report of the lost luggage, the taxi, stop at the market, drive to our Air BnB place, and we are finally there. It is never exactly as it is on the photos or what you imagined it would be. However, the host has put a nice plate with cheese, bread, olives and tomatoes on the table with two glasses of wine for our welcome – and that makes the arrival to the destination very special, despite of rain that started drizzling.

Not a lot of decisions that evening. How many hours of not sleeping? Packing an extra change of clothes and pajamas in my carry-on came handy, with our suitcases, probably still sitting quietly somewhere in Germany. Hot water in the shower never came for me, but I am too tired to worry about that, so a quick splash to rinse the feel of the journey and hop into the bed.

Trauma: The Road back

Two writing workshops that can help you build back your self-confidence and give you a positive way of dealing with some of life’s hardest situations. The opportunity to submit your written piece to a potential anthology. 

While the workshops build on each other, they can also be taken individually. $80 for two workshops, $45 for individual workshops.
To register please email Bonnie Nish at: blnish_pandoras@yahoo.ca 
Please pay at:  https://www.pandorascollective.com/donate.html 

April 30th online 10:30- 12:30 pm 
Moon Flower: Blooming in the Dark  

Trauma is anything that happens to us, physically or psychically, that is beyond our capacity to cope given our personal circumstances and development. Trauma devastates individuals and those who support them (Dr. Bonnie Nish, 2020). 

How does one navigate through the complex journey of reconnecting with self after trauma? Is it possible to find meaning for oneself in the wake of trauma and to reengage with life in a productive way? Recovering is different for each individual. Using writing for healing is a powerful tool which allows the writer to access previous experiences, understanding and information. 

Join us in this 90-minute online writing workshop and allow your imagination to help you open spaces, peel back layers and let go of trauma. Writing can help you build back your self-confidence and give you a positive way of dealing with some of life’s hardest situations. We invite you to bring your coffee and join a community, where coming together helps us feel connected and promotes further healing. Write, share and then eat your words. Seeing your words is just as important as sharing them. We will invite you to send us a line from what you write and we will create a unique edible flower with your words on it. You are welcome to eat them (ink is edible as well), display it, or share the words with the world.  

Please note that one of the purposes of this workshop is to generate writing that could possibly be included in a new anthology of personal stories surrounding trauma.  

Saturday, June 6th, 2022 online 10:30- 12:30 
Moon Flower: Back to Wholeness

Uncover some hidden pieces of your story as you pull together a collage of art and words to help you come back from events which may have had you stuck for years. Time to break molds and piece a new creation together. Surprises? Absolutely. Epiphany? Hopefully. Connections? Definitely. No experience necessary.  We will invite you to send us a line from what you write and we will create a unique edible flower with your words on it. You are welcome to eat them (ink is edible as well), display it, or share the words with the world.  

Facilitating workshops with:
Dr. Bonnie Nish is Executive Director of Word Vancouver, Western Canada’s largest free literacy arts festival. Bonnie’s first book of poetry ‘Love and Bones’ was released by Karma Press in 2013. Bonnie has a Masters in Arts Education from Simon Fraser University and a PhD in Language and Literacy Education from the University of British Columbia where she currently teaches. Her next book “Concussion and Mild TBI: Not Just Another Headline” an anthology of concussion related stories, was published by Lash and Associates in 2016. Bonnie is an Expressive Arts Therapist with a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies from the Vancouver Expressive Arts Therapy School who has worked extensively with youth and adults in high-risk situations. She has conducted writing and expressive arts workshops for over 20 years across North America. Her latest poetry book, Cantata in Two Voices, co-written with Jude Neal was released by Ekstasis Editions in 2018. Bonnie lives in Vancouver British Columbia, Canada. Find out more about her at https://bonnienish.com 


CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS TO A TRANSMEDIAL PROJECT: Trauma, the road back:

Your stories in augmented reality:Trauma is anything that happens to us, physically or psychically, that is beyond our capacity to cope given our personal circumstances and development. Trauma devastates individuals and those who support them. Dr. Bonnie Nish (2020)As our journey though trauma and challenging times continues to unfold, we discover that it is full of surprises, grief, loss, joy and wonder as well. It is full of grace and resiliency. “. It is through grace, the ability to hold my head high and move with elegance no matter what, that I find I am able to bear the magnitude of these changes (Nish, 2020).”We are collecting short narratives or poems depicting personal experiences of trauma and resiliency. These are important stories. How has the journey impacted your life and the lives of those close to you? We will be looking for a publisher with the aim of having the book published sometime in 2023/2024. Every story/poem may be accompanied by a short video turned into augmented reality experience. So, we will be asking for a 1-3 min recording. Please note that sending in your piece of writing is not a guarantee it will be included in the anthology. Only those selected for the collection will be contacted with more details about the video recording requirements.Please tell your story-in no more than 500 words.​Please send to blnish_pandoras@yahoo.ca– by July 25th 2022. – please put “Trauma, the road back” in the subject line.

Events, Readings, Workshops, Exhibitions and Installations 2022

September 2023

Exhibition in Outlet Gallery, Port Coquitlam

Thursday, October 26: Opening Reception from 6:00-8:00pm – details TBA

September 2022

Featured in Spotlight on the arts,

Arts Council of Surrey Magazine https://issuu.com/acsspotlight/docs/spot_0922_web

July 2022

CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS TO A TRANSMEDIAL PROJECT: Trauma, the road back: Your stories in augmented reality

Collaboration with Dr. Bonnie Nish: We are collecting short narratives or poems depicting personal experiences of trauma and resiliency. These are important stories. How has the journey impacted your life and the lives of those close to you? We will be looking for a publisher with the aim of having the book published sometime in 2023/2024. Every story/poem may be accompanied by a short video turned into augmented reality experience.

Please note that sending in your piece of writing is not a guarantee it will be included in the anthology. Only those selected for the collection will be contacted with more details about the video recording requirements. Please tell your story-in no more than 500 words.​ Please send to blnish_pandoras@yahoo.ca– by July 25th 2022. – please put “Trauma, the road back” in the subject line.

June 23, 2022, online 4-6pm (7-9pm EST)

Dragonfly Poetry reading

Reading at Annual Dragonfly Poetry Reading and Gallery Walk, a celebration of the publishing of the 2022 Dragonfly Arts Magazine. This free VIRTUAL event will feature local visual artists and poets’ work, offering reflections on life, love, trauma, justice, renewal, and hope. The evening provides a dynamic opportunity to experience the power of words and the vital role that the arts provide in promoting healing, awareness, and change. Registration.

June 6, 2022, online 10:30- 12:30 pm

Writing workshop, Trauma: The road back
Moon Flower: Back to Wholeness 

90-minute online writing workshop. Each participant will get a unique edible flower with his/her words on it. The opportunity to submit a written piece to a potential anthology. Read all the details at Trauma: The Road Back

April 30, 2022, online 10:30- 12:30 pm 

Writing Workshop, Trauma: The road back
Moon Flower: Blooming in the Dark

90-minute online writing workshop. Each participant will get a unique edible flower with his/her words on it. The opportunity to submit a written piece to a potential anthology. Read all the details at Trauma: The Road Back

January 2022

Cinematheque Film making Showcase


January 12-23
Using smartphones and free video editing software, each participant created their own original short film exploring questions and themes raised by the artworks at The Lind Prize 2021 exhibition.

The short films played continuously during the Gallery’s operating hours.

Participating artists included: Miki Aurora, Kaila Bhullar, Natasha Boskic, Sara Brinkac, Olga Campbell, Alexander Chang, Aurore Dupont-Sagorin, Noah Horn, Frances Hui, Alger Liang, Andy Liu, Sam Mason, Shannon Ruth Dionne Miller, Lyndsey Paramo, Jeremiah Reyes, Michellene Sigurdson, Carla Tooley, and Mimi Xia.

More photos...

https://thepolygon.ca/exhibition/cinematheque-filmmaking-showcase/

Back to events in 2021

Back to events in 2020

Back to events in 2019

Mexican

Mentioning Mexico always brings thoughts of my first and only one “all-inclusive” vacation. What does it look like to go and not worry about anything and have everything at your disposal. The Barceló resort was one of the great places to experience that kind of rest. Despite all nice day-trips and learning about the area, I wish we had more opportunities to try authentic Mexican cuisine. There are restaurants of course, in Vancouver, where you can have a taste of it, but I am not sure how close they come to the original.

Memories

I remember the evening we arrived,
and walked barefoot on sand, still hot
from a long exposure to a sunny day.
I couldn’t wait to get into the warm waters,
that hugged, there in Cancún,
coming from the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea,
mixing the hues of green and blue.
Water so different from cold Pacific Ocean
and the black bottom.
Days so full
of explorations, of joy,
so full of us.

Climbing the ruins,
swimming in a cool cenote,
driving a jeep through the dust…
spicy food, cold drinks,
music…

There is nothing left,
no repeated trip,
no repeated anything,
just a few photos
and these minty memories.

Lebanese

Key to wisdom

Not too many countries starting with K, and not too many cuisines to explore. We decided to try and make Korean this time. We had such a good experience at the Sura restaurant in August 2019. The day was hot, so a cold cucumber soup seemed like a good idea. Despite the simplicity of the recipe, I don’t think I did a good job. Too much seaweed made it hard for me to enjoy. However, the main dish was tasteful and it went well with the Korean black raspberry wine.

My only connection to this country are a few colleagues from work, but their personal stories are not necessarily part of our conversations. The other source of my knowledge are, of course, books. I borrowed The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See from a friend, and I was immediately captivated by the good writing. I later recommended it for our book club and gladly read it once again. A story about hard life and exceptional women divers, haenyeo, on a small Jeju island is a testimony of how little we know about the limits of human body and spirit.

The other book that I read later, The Last Exiles: A Novel by Ann Shin was a completely different experience and “closer to home.” The political regimes that make human life meaningless and hell is not a matter of the past. How often do we see the brutality over millions to satisfy the greed and ego of a few? The indoctrination and brainwash to warship the leaders to the extend that they become larger than God, and the censorship of information so that there is no free mind, and therefore no free will is such a powerful weapon. I am happy that socialism/communism in our country didn’t go to such extremes. It makes me angry and devastated at the same time to think how human life (that we have only one of) can be wasted, and these beautiful opportunities to be happy, joyful, creative… have never been given to so many.

Knowledge

I avoid news.
What do I need to know about the world?
I learned so much already.

The war will never end,
just change location,
leaving broken homes, broken hearts
and broken cultures behind.

It will take longer than life to recover,
to repair, rebuild…
It is happening again,
if not in our neighbourhood,
then in the country one over.

Earthquakes, volcanoes, fires and floods
– it is not about them

It is about human to human,
one person to another:
killing someone because he is black,
abusing children because they can’t fight back,
torturing women because they are already wounded.
I can’t actually name the reasons
as there is no reason at all.

When I turn the TV on,
I see the eyes that witnessed the horror,
the memories that will never fade.
I go to bed shaking,
another sleepless night ahead.

My TV screen is only for movies and documentaries,
my radio only for music.

When I get up,
I dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water
and bake a bread for another neighbour,
leave a flower in front of someone’s door,
or make a pillow for a friend.

That, I know how to do.