Greetings from our home in Hamburg, Germany. Wait, what? How could we have a home in Hamburg when we have a home in Topanga? Should I call it a partial (or second) home? Well. I don't. When Frido and I were reading and learning about being young-ish parents to multicultural children a few years ago, we learned that our kids shouldn't be viewed as half German and half Japanese. We can not divide our kids' identities into portions, fractioning a whole into multiple pieces, even though our family's backgrounds can be diverse. Instead, our kids are entirely German, Japanese, and American.
Similarly, I feel about Hamburg as much as our home in Topanga and my family's place in Yakushima, Japan. Mathematically, it makes no sense. Three whole entities can not sum up to one entire home in an equation, but perhaps, that's life. Life simply can not be calculated.
For the past ten days, my time here in Germany has been about "Ichigo Ichie," which loosely translates to "appreciating each moment with each encounter." I am finding that experiencing "Ichigo Ichie" occurs not only with friends and families I get to spend time with but also with myself. I have visited Hamburg many times during the last 15 years, and I receive this sense of being with myself each time. Perhaps because the girls are more with Frido and his parents, this is one of the only times I can "be" uninterrupted. However, while having more time to myself might sound like a luxury, it's not always comfortable, to be honest. I acknowledge that it sometimes feels easier to be pushed and pulled by external forces (aka driving kids around to their activities in LA traffic) than to ride my own tide and, therefore, the discomfort. But once I can sit with the feeling and get over the initial bump, there is the expansion of time where creativity and inspiration flood my world. So I have come to appreciate the beauty in one-of-a-kind encounters with people around me as well as with myself here, whether through joy or challenge.
My heart is filled with the stories we share this month. Jen is one of my family's dear friends. We have homeschooled our kids together as much as we have shared a passion for creativity, design, and the importance of working with native plants. The intersection of her art and her care for the natural world around her in the midst of LA is inspiring. Her story "Sparks, Wisdom, and Welcoming Nettle" speaks of that.
I was thrilled when Trina told me that this month's Notebook People interview would be with Judi, our long-time BK friend. I am so grateful that I met her grandson many years ago when he was younger than Satchi, and then to recently hear from Judi that he is graduating from high school this year. Judi also has been a part of our girls' BK life as much as BK itself. And to see a full circle come together as Judi shares her love for analogue through Trina's interview affirmed how connected we are as a community. I know it can feel vulnerable to share a personal analogue realm with the world, to open the pages of one's journal. And perhaps, that is the reason why we feel a sense of community because, through those pages, we realize that we are all threaded.
A.C's story as they prepared for a big international travel brought me a big smile. Traveling has become a large part of our family culture, and we have streamlined how and what we prepare for trips. Yet, peering into another creative's travel rituals is incredibly inspiring. Seeing and reading A.C.'s organizational structure around upcoming trip feels satisfying, almost like relief with a deep sigh. And, of course, their outfit sketches are beyond delightful.
Ichigo Ichie. What a vague yet concrete philosophy this is. It is both effortlessly easy to accomplish and difficult to achieve. It is what makes a living so full of joy yet uncomfortable to sit with. Life does not seem to follow logic, though we occasionally try to force-fit it. And when we let it be, there are many beautiful encounters along the way. So here it is. Ichigo Ichie.
always a work in progress...
Hamburg // May 3rd, 2023