Michaela Merz

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I knew two brothers, they were inseparable. They had a wonderful relationship and undertook many activities that went into the town history. One of them was smarter than the other but that wasn’t important. First their father died and then their mother, they inherited a large estate with huge gardens and office buildings. And their relationship was destroyed by money. One of them had received more than the other.

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100 years of ‘Circus Knie’

We didn’t have any tickets for the circus performance and it was sold out. Reason dictated it wouldn’t make any sense to go to the venue and ask for a ticket at the counter. It was November, it was cold and rainy. To watch a movie at home seemed like the better solution. We went anyway.

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Can you really have everything?

Susanne went into politics as a young lady. She was an exceptional case. Pretty, smart, kind, barely of age and she had high moral expectations for the people around her and for herself. There was no meeting that she appeared to unprepared. There was no topic that she was unwilling to buckle down for and understand.  She put endless hours into the party’s work. Five evenings a week plus weren’t an exception.

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What do you do when it rains in Ticino? – Sasso San Gottardo

I’m not an anxious person but the strong wind that woke me up during our holidays at night did have an effect on me. It didn’t feel like a view out of the window but more like watching a movie about natural disasters on the telly. Somehow everything was moving even when it was meant to be still. When branches, lots of leaves and clothing items flew through the air it was still understandable, but when I saw how the wind lifted the metal deckchairs up into the air and threw them into the swimming pool, I started to feel a little queasy.

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Cruise ships

When my youngest asked to go on a cruise during the holidays I felt very negative towards the idea. What should I, a freedom loving, individuality focused person do, squashed like a sardine in a tight space with thousands of others? I’d go insane after a maximum of 24 hours. The idea that I wouldn’t like it at all and that I would not be able to leave the ship was horrific. I had only been on a dance ship once. I was very young at the time. I found it horrible and swore to myself that I would never ever step on a large ship again. It’s not that I have an issue with ships. I love sailing, the water and I actually cannot really get enough of it. But a big ship that moves lazily through the water and in which you are pretty much held captive, was gruesome to me. Cruise ships seem like a heap of ants to me with a moat that feed their members but at the same time rule over them like dictators.

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Something special

The titan arum in the Botanical Gardens is in flower. That is a spectacle worth seeing, firstly because the flower can be seen in our latitudes only in the botanical garden and secondly because it happens infrequently. It’s even worth an article in the newspaper. We went with my youngest to see this spectacle. The weather was lousy, cold and rainy. And in the Botanical Gardens there was a long queue. That gives it even greater rarity value. Many people wanted to see this natural wonder. Next to the plant stood the happy Director of the Botanical Gardens and gave all who wanted to hear information about this strange plant.  He beamed with delight as if he were announcing the birth of his first child. It was impressive, the atmosphere was replete with pride and wonder, simply a wonderful event, which will long remain in our memories.    

We then moved on to visit grandmother. And in the streams in the surrounding woods beavers have settled. For more than 30 years they had disappeared and now they have returned. Within a short time, their creative urge has left a significant influence on nature.  The beavers have felled numerous large trees, dammed the water, raised the water level in the stream by half a meter. The beavers are shy and rare and we wandered along their tracks in astonishment.

But we have promised grandmother to fetch her some paint from the village. We continued our journey. In the meadow beside the road cows are grazing. It’s a strange breed, which I had never seen. They are black and in the middle they have regular white stripes. It looks as if an artist had taken a wide paint brush and marked all the cows. There were also a lot of very small calves. And suddenly we noticed that almost next to the road behind the electrified fence at this very moment a calf is being born. The cow had turned anxiously towards us and we chose a distance, which no longer seemed to disturb it. It was a special happening to follow the birth so closely in the nature and to be amazed at how easily the cow had managed it.        

We had to fetch the paint the next day because we were so fascinated that we didn’t arrive in the village until the shop was already closed.

These were unique, one-off events, which you couldn’t have planned. The appeal of the special, the unique is astounding and given to what it drives the individual, the more so.

The titan arum is still in the Botanical Gardens but now is only an inconspicuous plant, because it flowers only for a week, while the construction skills of the beavers can still be viewed. Let me know if you are interested and I’ll send you the GPS coordinates.

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Lajla and her brother Dan

Lajla’s father believed that investing in the education of girls was not worth it, because in any case they marry and stay at home. Boys should learn a trade, because that is always needed everywhere.

Dan was not a hero at school, but that didn’t worry the father at all. The main thing was that he could knuckle down and help around the house. Lajla was a model student and brought home only the best marks, but that was also all the same to the father. The main thing was that she helped her mother and was a master cook, baker, seamstress and of all household tasks.

In the final school year the teacher had invited the father. The father went to the school. The suggestion that Lajla be sent to high school, was absolute nonsense for the father. He then would have to finance Lajla for the next 8 to 10 years and why make such a fuss, when she would in any case no longer need it. The suggestion that Dan should repeat the last year made the father even more angry.

Finally the teacher and the father agreed that Lajla would find a commercial apprenticeship (the father thought that that would be something useful, if she were to marry into a family business) and Dan started an apprenticeship as a mechanic.

Today Lajla manages a business with almost 120 employees and that for years and extremely successfully. Despite completing his apprenticeship, Dan has somehow not quite made it. The father is proud of Lajla, but deep in his heart he feels sad that it is not Dan, rather than Lajla, who is successful. After all Lajla has married and no longer bears his surname.

Lajla puts in even more effort and is still a bit more successful. She also does it to gain recognition from her father, which never happens. And Dan is frustrated, because it seems to him that for his sister everything is effortless and, regardless of his efforts (but he doesn’t really try), in any case he has no chance in a world, where the women now take precedence.

Image source: Rainer Sturm / pixelio.de