Michaela Merz


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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


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Lost in the forest (www.mapy.cz)


It is summer, warm, in the evenings it is light until late. After almost 30 years I have returned to the forest of my childhood. Back then I knew this forest inside out. We collected mushrooms, raspberries and blueberries. We climbed on raised hides, built tiny huts and played cops and robbers. I knew the forest and its hideouts. Continue reading