Tag Archives: Croatian

Left cheek kiss, right cheek kiss. Kiss the very ground.

“Going back to a simpler life based on living by sufficiency rather than excess is not a step backward. Rather, returning to a simpler way allows us to regain our dignity, puts us in touch with the land, and makes us value human contact again.”
— Yvon Chouinard

No where I have ever visited more acutely embraces the primal need of Chouinard’s words as HugsCroatia; physical human contact is a standard of ‘being’ here, vastly unlike the requisite three feet of personal space which Americans demand. Each greeting begins with this – you place your hands on the upper arms of the person standing before you, lean in to close the space between you, place your left cheek against theirs kiss, then the right, and kiss. You connect, you share physical space, you communicate with your heart as well as your whole being. If you are less than presenting yourself in ‘fullness of being’ you will be felt. Authenticity reigns supreme in this physical connectedness. I love this. I absolutely, unconditionally, LOVE THIS.

I sit here, four days back in Croatia after an absence of five and a half months, and I feel whole again. Really whole. I shed tears of gratitude for the wondrous gift of being here. I light candles in churches for the same reason. I stand calf deep in fountains in her cities and towns and the Adriatic (there is no time for a swim right now). I walk barefoot on Rovinj’s sidewalks in darkness and Pula’s streets in blazing July heat. I see fig and olive trees full of fruit and weep. The scent of the air dense with the sea, and earth’s minerals, pine, lavender and citrus assaults my senses and my heart.  I pull the energy of the land and its people into my being through every possible means as though I would perish from thirst and hunger should I fail. I am HOME.

When we arrived in Venice, (my business partner Ken Herron and I are in Istria, Croatia participating in the #ShareIstria campaign – the final week of a total of eleven – as #IstraKT), I was utterly exhausted. I was drained from the machinations of the culture of the USA, as well as the indifference and greed and IMHO the truly wrongheadedness of core values.  I was weary from the (foolish?) decision to simultaneously give up my apartment, put my things into storage, and stay not for the single week of the contest but through October. To embrace Croatia again, fully, and make sure that this is the path I will take – to make her my permanent home. [The truth is that were it not for remarkable friends in Rochester, NY I would not have been able to get on the plane to get here – they were still picking up the pieces of my life (and my shoes!) and putting these into storage for me as I simply ran out of time to do everything – my angels on Earth, I love you for this enormous gift more than you can know.]

The very first Croatian ‘touch’ on this return trip for me was on my left forearm. Our driver Glen, hired by the Istrian Tourist Board to collect us in Venice, did this several times as he listened to me speak of his country during our three hour drive to Rovinj. This was not uncomfortable to me, this is a balm. This tells me in the most elemental way that someone not only hears what I am saying but wants to reinforce the importance of my words to them on a personal level of what I am saying without using words of their own. I told Ken “I get petted a lot in Croatia.” I haven’t quite figured out the why of this, but it means the world to me that my energy is such that people feel comfortable in doing this.

We drove through Italy to Slovenia, stop at the border to get our passports stamped, drive on 20150724_114904-2perhaps 200 yards, and cross into Croatia, another stamp. ‘Dobar dan’ is expressed, smiles exchanged, our passports handed back to us.  A large sign another 200 yards ahead welcomes us to Croatia. My throat clenches, my eyes fill. I look behind our car quickly but there is traffic, no opportunity to get out of the car, kneel, and kiss the ground (I have now quietly attended to this ritual of a traveler returning home.)

From the 24th to today, the 28th, I have greeted each Croatian I encounter through an introduction not with a handshake but with this intimate touch and kisses on the their cheeks.  Our handler Goran said that I am the first person from all of the #ShareIstria teams to do this; I am shocked. How can anyone come into a culture and not make a tiny effort to know? Yet my reaction isn’t prideful. Rather it is concern that I might have offended. No, no, no he says, it is appreciated. Croatians generally, Istrians in particular right now, make me feel beyond welcomed, as we hug and kiss I better understand this (the second time around) the context of closing the space even further with me on parting company, Istrians are making me feel as though I am a native daughter returning to the nest after being away too long. For all those I have met along the journey to be here, amongst you again, your kindness and hospitality swamp my heart in the best possible way. Hvala lipo.

We would love your support of our participation in the #ShareIstria contest I hope you will follow us as #IstraKT (across social media platforms Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and help amplify our various posts on social media. Hvala lipo. Aj bog.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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Today’s new word is FKK, (no, it’s not Croatian).

Pula cafe 100differentplaces blog

Pula cafe, photo credit: 100 DIFFERENT PLACES© Melanie Hahn 2015

Unless the Bura (Bora) is blowing (and often when it is) Croatians are outside – living. They are gathered in cafes under huge umbrellas and awnings, sunglasses donned – hats optional, they are in their gardens, and walking, sometimes dancing, doing their shopping, sailing, scuba diving, riding horses, fishing, swimming and sunning. The concept of a ‘sitting room’ (aka living room) is beyond foreign and does not exist in any of my Croatian experiences to date (thus the reason I have sold nearly all of the normal accouterments found in an American living room). If you are inside with Croatians you are gathered around their dining table eating and talking, drinking (coffee or Rakia or homemade wines – the families of most Dalmatians of my acquaintance have been making wine for between 400 and 700 years) and talking some more. The TV is most likely on in the background in either environment and the atmosphere will be raucous and passionate if football is ‘on’.

But more about being outside.

The thing is that Croatia boasts 3,630 miles or 5,840 kms of coastline so even with an onslaught of tourists (last year 11.3 million) visiting from all over the world from June to August you and yours will not be fighting for beachfront to claim or open water to enjoy. An astonishing amount of her coast is treacherously rocky outcroppings, a good portion golden and creamy white pebbled and finally some sand crescents so beautiful you might never wish to leave especially when coupled with waters so pure they are listed amongst the top in Europe for cleanliness and sunrises and sunsets that still all capacity for words. All along the coast home-owners extend their properties into the Adriatic with charming piers, sometimes enclosing the sea water (yet providing drainage) so that small children can splash safely at high tide in the heat of the summer afternoons. There is a very pleasant landward breeze that cools Croatia ‘in the season’ is called the Maestral.

Now, I am not a country bumpkin. I got over, and embraced (in theory), the ‘bare it all’ mindset of Europeans on my first trip to Budapest and the Hotel Gellert Baths but I must confess that I had never heard the word Freikörperkultur before this trip to Croatia; when your traveling companion, Ken Herron, tells you he spent a summer ostensibly ‘studying’ in Germany you learn all kinds of new things. So here we are, in Istria, doing our best to expand both our horizons, and yours, sharing all with you so that when you come you have the benefit of our experience and to save you some embarrassing (and costly) mistakes in protocol.

Nudists

Photo: Edita Druskovic

Understand this, there are three kinds of beaches to be enjoyed in Croatia – all appropriately marked – those with bathing suits, those where bathing suits are optional and those which for those who practice Freikörperkultur populate (the embedded link takes you to those nine nudist beaches in Istria). The first is self-speaking, take off your clothes here and get arrested. The second is nuanced; the third, if you show up and have bathing clothing on will get you a citation for not abiding by ‘terms of use’.

Further there are 114 Blue Flag Beaches in Croatia (again, reference how pristine the water is) and Istria has 40 of these very special beaches which maintain the highest possible environmental management and quality standards criteria (a new list of awardees is announced each 5 June).

So yesterday, as we arrived in Croatia, I powered through some work and took a much needed nap (making me late for dinner!) and Ken set off to explore Rovinj’s beaches. While I went to see 2Cellos after dinner last night, Ken went to bed. I was up late, posting this YouTube video from the concert, and he was up early. I am packed, but can’t find my diamond earrings, but haven’t had breakfast yet twobecause I am writing this – I best hurry it’s 8AM.

I have no idea if Ken went FKK yesterday or this morning – it’s like “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” but as we enter the first official day of our participation in the #ShareIstria contest I hope you will follow us as #IstraKT (across social media platforms Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and help amplify our various posts on social media.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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A Man in a Tie.

I have wanted to write this specific post since the 16th of January.  I have known (most of) the story for a couple of years care of my girlfriend Zeljka but not another day is going by without my getting this written.

_MG_1669

Click here http://www.croata.hr/en/gentlemen/cravats/cravats/cc559/ for 74 PAGES of exquisite men’s ties from Croata!

There are few things that women agree upon when it comes to men, but I would be willing to bet that the allure of a man wearing a good dress shirt and a handsome, and well-tied, silk tie is certainly one; the attraction is almost as primal as the overwhelming desire we have to pull the end of ribbon to get at a gift.

The modern necktie takes its origins from the red kerchiefs worn by Croatian soldiers in the 17th century (Thirty Years War). The sartorial word, cravat, derives from the corrupted French pronunciation of Croat(e) ‘La Cravate’ thus coming into the lexicon of the day. If you do a search online this is generally accepted as historically accurate, but it’s only a portion of the story. All those websites toting this to market their wares fail to mention how this long piece of muslin or silk wrapped once about the neck of a Croatian soldier and tied in a loose knot came to be – lovers.

cravatIt was the tying of such by a woman upon her sweethearts’ neck, sending her man off to war with a prayer and a promise of fidelity that started this. Essentially, in accepting the kerchief, he was bound to her should he return from war. In the contemporary sense, the use of various metaphors of business as war, it is the same and Fast Company best sums it up: “Business in the New Economy is a civilized version of war. Companies, not countries, are the battlefield rivals.” And the spoils of those wars fought daily? Still the companionship of a lover to come home to. Which brings me back to the almost primal connection we have to unwrapping a present (though I am unaware of any sociological or psychological studies to document the phenomenon) a hand on his chest just at the heart monitors both the elevation of his breath and heart rate, fingers slipping into a silk knot at a man’s throat and gently, but firmly, loosening it (and him) from the constraints of his day – in my humble opinion there is not a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g more seductive. I digress.

“Personal style isn’t simply an exercise in parroting but rather an exhibition for our own stories – from the gait of our walk to the rhythm of our speech to the manner in which the necktie falls from the knot.” ~ LZ Granderson

And it is this space, “the manner in which the necktie falls”, that I revert to the Croatian origins of 20150116_112354the tie. You see back in January I was in Rijeka, Croatia for the day. Stunned by the Baroque beauty architecture of this city of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire (from 1466 onward 450 years), as I said I knew 20150116_121747_HDRof the back-story of the cravat, and though I had seen a handful of Croata shops in the previous two and a half months of my stay in Croatia I had not yet entered one of their stores. Something was different energetically and visually here though.  On the wall directly behind the glass door was a colour of fresh cream silk Charmeuse cravat (photo at left). Because just as a Tuxedo should only be worn with a hand-tied black silk bow tie this swath of finished ivory silk had the same net effect on my psyche. Suddenly all I saw was a romantic nod to a time when harpsichords and viola de gamba were played and men wore embroidered waistcoats, breeches with hose (showing off their legs to great advantage), and cutaway jackets made of fine silk brocade or velvet embellished with passementarie, and a tiny part of me involuntarily swooned. I had only meant to ask to take a picture, but before me was quite literally the history of the tie in a series of watercolours hung upon the walls and that history pulled me into it as well as the store where stories and pride of both country and company ebulliently poured forth from Sven, the store’s sales manager, I was enthralled. To discover that not only are 99% of Croata offerings made within Croatia’s geopolitical boundaries but the hyper-exclusive and limited edition (only 25 of the same tie are produced) nature of these make an Hermès tie as common as an Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirt; somehow all this was translated into further validation for making this dragon shaped country bound by the sea my permanent home. 20150116_122233

I tied a red silk kerchief around the neck of a singular, imaginary, Croatian man that day, pledging my heart and love to the country in the process. At the time I didn’t know how accurate that troth would become in the coming months, and the reality I now live daily – though still from afar.  Can’t wait to get my fingers into that knot that binds me, loosen it, and be welcomed home.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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Politics, NOT as usual, Croatia’s presidential candidate Ivan Vilibor Sinčić

Hrvatska verzija slijedi engligh.

sunset over TrogirEach day starts with a unique promise – to change something about ourselves or the world around us.  I don’t think most people give this too much thought, but it’s always there, the possibility.  For six days I had been trying to break through the first line of contact to offer both my professional communications skills as well as leveraging my political campaign experience to the aspirations of a young man running for president of Croatia – yesterday an early morning Facebook text conversation netted me a phone number, and a path to Split.

civil disobediance

Lead by example – taking on “the system”

At the end of my day I wrote on my Facebook wall, and posted pictures:  “Interesting day. Honour your skills when you’ve no clue what to do and all of the sudden a MESSAGE is really loud. I was invited to share lunch with Croatian presidential candidate Ivan Vilibor Sinčić by members of his campaign team including Jakov Perica on Split’s Riva this afternoon.” As someone with a past history of serving as the finance director for three Congressional races in the United States it takes about two minutes for me to weed out ‘real deal’ vs. ‘fraud’ – Sinčić is the REAL DEAL. Thoughtful and articulate in a way that allows me to express Croatia would be VERY LUCKY to have him (especially because of his youth and track record on human rights and economic issues) as their next president. I don’t believe that I am here by chance over this – I am here because my friend Marijan expressed to me over a year ago “my country needs people like you”. Well, LET ME HELP and then let me make Croatia my permanent home.

Friends know that I never say, nor do I write, anything I don’t mean, and I am in sincere in this Tweet:

@TeresaFritschi #Croatia‘s Prez candidate Vilibor #Sinčić is like #ThomasJefferson #Robespierre

I am sure it is nearly impossible to imagine the intellect and incorruptible nature of two of the 18th centuries’ greatest minds existing in a single man today – but John Vilibor (Sonny) is such a human being.

Corruption is nothing new – every society has been victim to a percentage of its population that always demands more than is ethical, fair or just. On the bus to Split I was informed that Al Capone was actually of Croatian ancestry (keeping in mind that the Italians – specifically the Venetians were here when Marco Polo was a child).  For 800 years (or more) with further and bankfurther influence and decimation of society has come in the form of those behind global banking interests (oh DO watch this ½ hour video to understand that this is not simply in the United States but impacting people across the globe).

Ivan at foot

Touching the toe of Ivan Meštrović’s colossal sculpture of Gregory of Nin for luck

So like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Saunders in the United States Croatia’s presidential hopeful Ivan Vilibor Sinčić gets it and he wants nothing to do with this influence in his country. He has built a record, as President Barack Obama did in his youth, of functioning as a champion of human rights, of being a community organizer deploying small efforts designed to thwart illegal evictions of homeowners by building a ‘living wall’ of protection and both knowing and leveraging the laws of Croatia. He is outside ‘the system’ which makes his efforts underdog in the extreme. He is a quiet presence in the throng of humanity, listening, touching an arm, posing for pictures – a very shy, very sincere, smile gracing his face.  Despite his stature he doesn’t take up much space – that is until he speaks and then he owns the room, fully and completely with his passion, and thoughtful rhetoric. Perhaps it’s because I have worked for my whole adult life making other people look good that in witnessing authenticity of this caliber my breath went completely out of my body – I don’t speak Croatian yet I understood exactly what he said.  But people see it.  Croatians feel at a cellular level and respond to Ivan as if crossing a desert and finding an oasis to quench their thirst. They seem ready to rise up and reclaim their lives and make their whole society better in the process; maybe all of our societies in leading by example. By what those of Nguni Bantu term roughly translating to “human kindness” but most literally means that you cannot rejoice if your neighbor has none – Ubuntu.

My friend Ken Herron has chided me for three years about my unwillingness to prostitute my skills to survive. He knows, because I inherited his role as a chief marketing officer, that I am perfectly capable of making crazy money “doing what we do” but I have never been able to do this. If I believe I will give of myself until I drop, but nothing can induce me if I don’t respect you, your product or your mission.  It’s been less than 20 hours as I write this since posting a 2:30 segment of Ivan’s speech yesterday from Split on Twitter and on Facebook, even as a seasoned communications professional I am stunned by the rate of viewership.

“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” 
― Anaïs Nin

I truly had no intention of ever returning to politics, so traveling 4400 miles to discover that the skills of my lifetime could possibly realise real value for 4.3 million people is at once a stunning revelation, and like slipping back into my most authentic skin. We seek other states, connect with other lives and other souls for resonance, and authentication of who we are at our most elemental. We travel to give of ourselves and to receive. We travel to leave the world and ourselves better than we were before we leapt into the void of the unknown.  I seem to have come home to myself.

Svaki dan počinje s jedinstvenim obećanjem-promijeniti nešto u vezi sebe ili svijeta oko nas. Mislim da puno ljudi o ovome niti ne razmišlja, ali ona je uvijek tu, mogućnost. Šest dana sam se pokušavala probiti  do prvih kontakata kako bih ponudila svoje profesionalne  komunikacijske vještine kao i da svojim iskustvom u političkim kampanjama podržim težnje mladića koji se našao u utrci za predsjednika Hrvatske. Zahvaljujući jučerašnjem ranojutarnjem dopisivanju na Facebooku  došla sam do telefonskog broja i našla se na putu za Split.

Na kraju dana napisala sam na svojem zidu na Facebooku, uz popratne slike: “Zanimljiv dan. Pohvali svoje sposobnosti kada ne znaš što bi i odjednom je PORUKA  vrlo glasna. Pozvana sam na ručak na Splitskoj rivi ovo poslijepodne s predsjedničkim kandidatom Ivanom Viliborom Sinčićem. Pozvali su me članovi njegovo tima uključujući Jakova Pericu .

Kao netko tko je u svojoj prošlosti radio kao financijski direktor u tri kongresne trke u SAD-u, treba mi oko dvije minute da prepoznam tko je pravi a tko lažan- Sinčić je PRAVI.  Promišljeno I artikulirano na način koji mi dozvoljava da se izrazim, Hrvatska će biti vrlo sretna što ga ima (osobito zbog njegove mladosti, ali i dokazanoj borbi za ljudska prava i ekonomske probleme) kao svog sljedećeg predsjednika. Vjerujem da nisam ovdje u ovome slučajno- ovdje sam jer mi je moj prijatelj Marijan prije više od godinu dana rekao: “moja zemlja treba ljude poput tebe”. Pa, dozvoli mi da pomognem, a onda i da Hrvatska postane moj trajni dom.

Prijatelji znaju da ja nikad ne govorim niti pišem ništa što ne mislim i da sam iskrena u ovom Tweetu :

@TeresaFritschi #Croatia‘s Prez candidate Vilibor #Sinčić is like #ThomasJefferson #Robespierre

(Hrvatski predsj. Kandidat Vilibor Sinčić je poput Thomasa Jeffersona i  Robespierrea)

Sigurna sam da je teško zamisliti intelekt i nekoruptivnu prirodu dvojice velikih umova 18. stoljeća  u jednom jedinom čovjeku-ali, Ivan Vilibor Sinčić je baš takvo ljudsko biće.

Korupcija nije ništa novo- svako društvo je bilo žrtva određenom broju populacije koja uvijek traži više nego li je etično, pošteno ili pravedno. U autobusu prema Splitu saznala sam da je Al Capone zapravo bio hrvatskog porijekla (imajući na umu da su Talijani-točnije Venecijanci bili ovdje kada je Marko Polo bio dijete. 800 godina (ili više) sa sve većim i većim utjecajem na društvo i njegovim desetkovanjem, ono je palo pod utjecaje globalnih bankarskih interesa. (Svakako pogledajte ovaj polusatni video kako biste shvatili da ovo jednostavno nije samo u SAD-u već utječe na ljude diljem globusa). Stoga, poput senatorice Elisabeth Warren i senatora Bernia Saundersa u Sjedinjenim Američkim državama, Hrvatski potencijalni predsjednik Ivan Vilibor Sinčić shvaća i ne želi imati ništa s ovim utjecajem u njegovoj Zemlji. Stekao je dosje, kao što je  predsjednik Barack Obama u svojoj mladosti, djelujući  kao prvak u borbi za ljudska prava. Ivan V.Sinčić je  suorganizator zajednice koja je uvođenjem malih napora stvorena kako bi spriječila ilegalne deložacije kućevlasnika, praveći “živi zid” zaštite,  poznavajući i koristeći zakone Hrvatske. On sam je “izvan sistema”  što čini njegove napore u krajnosti uzaludnima.

On je tiho prisutan u gomili ljudi, slušajući, dodirujući ruke i pozirajući za slikanja- vrlo sramežljiv, vrlo iskren, s osmijehom koji krasi njegovo lice.  Unatoč svojem statusu, on ne zauzima puno prostora-barem dok ne progovori, a tada je prostorija samo njegova u potpunosti, s njegovom strašću i  promišljenom retorikom.  Možda jer sam tijekom cijelog svog odraslog života radila čineći druge ljude da izgledaju dobro, svjedočeći autentičnosti ovog kalibra moj dah je potpuno napustio moje tijelo–ne govorim još hrvatski, a ipak sam razumjela točno što je rekao. Ali, ljudi vide. Hrvati osjećaju na baznom nivou i reagiraju kao da su prelaskom pustinje naišli na oazu koja će im utažiti žeđ.  Čine se spremnima uzdignuti se i ponovno preuzeti svoje živote u svoje ruke te učiniti cijelo njihovo društvo boljim u procesu; možda i sva naša društva, prednjačeći kao primjer.  Jedan od Ngunu Bantu izraza je ugrubo preveden kao “ljudska dobrota” ali doslovnije znači da se ne možeš radovati ako tvoj susjed nema ništa- Ubuntu. Moj prijatelj Ken Herron me tri godine korio zbog moje nevoljkosti da prostituiram svoje vještine kako bih preživjela. On zna, jer sam ja naslijedila njegovu ulogu glavnog marketinškog službenika, da sam ja savršeno sposobna stvoriti velik novac “čineći to što radimo” ali, nikad to nisam mogla učiniti. Ako ja vjerujem, ja ću dati sve od sebe dok ne svisnem, ali ništa me neće natjerati ako ne poštujem Vas, Vaš proizvod ili misiju. Prošlo je manje od 20h kako ovo pišem, a otkako sam postavila dio Ivanovog jučerašnjeg govora u Splitu na svoj Twitter i Facebook. Čak i kao iskusna komunikacijska profesionalka, zapanjena sam brojem gledanja

“Mi putujemo, neki od nas zauvjek, kako bismo vidjeli druge države, druge živote, druge duše. “― Anaïs Nin

Zaista nemam namjere se ikada vraćati politici, stoga putujući 440 milja kako bih otkrila da bi moje životne vještine  mogle možda realizirati stvarnu vrijednost od 4.3 milijuna ljudi odjednom je zapanjujuće otkriće, i  poput klizenja natrag u moju najautentičniju kožu. Tražimo druge države, povezujemo se s drugim životima i drugim dušama zbog reznonancije i autentifikacije  onoga tko smo u našoj srži. Putujemo kako bismo davali sebe i primali. Putujemo kako bismo ostavili svijet i same sebe boljima nego što smo bili prije nego li smo uskočili u nepoznato. Čini mi se da sam došla k samoj sebi.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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The shifting trajectory of kisses

“You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart.”
— Louise Erdrich

For the first time since 2005 I am dating again. No, I wasn’t in a long term relationship. No, I didn’t have a traumatic (or tragic) experience. And no, I don’t hate men. I have been on OKCupid for a bit shy of two years now. But in the last two weeks, finally being in Croatia after a year of deliberation, I have migrated from online and video Skype conversations to actually sitting with a man face-to-face over hot chocolate, over dinner, and going for walks.  I have kiss quotekissed all four of these men. Nine years is an awfully long time to have not done so, some I wanted much more with, with some, perhaps the kisses were actually too much to have shared.

This morning the (very loving) husband of a dear girlfriend, in the most subtle way imaginable, expressed his energetic protection for me. In my new life’s chapter, taking place far from practical intervention and rescue should such be necessary, David’s love is not the kind of love I am unaccustomed to having in my life; at first I was puzzled by why he would choose to Tweet the content and Cc me on such.  This dating thing is fraught with perils that every woman experiences, even when you are in a committed relationship rape happens. David’s genuine concern expressed for both myself and my best friend (as we were both mentioned in the Tweet and are both now actively dating again for the first time in many years) is soft focused and filled with light in a world with harsh realities. So David, I am sending you a huge hug, and a slightly insufficient thank you – message received.

Back to the dating thing.

In the last year a very wise man, and an equally wise woman, have both expressed the same thought about applying caution to sharing our physical space, and (any kind of) our energy with others. Every encounter with another (physically and energetically) leaves residue on the participants and in the domain of space inhabited, as such it’s incredibly important to understand this before sharing either with another. I suppose, if I am truly honest, protectingintentions myself from giving too much of myself away, harming another against their future or having the negative energies of others zap me has kept me from dating, and eventually becoming intimate, for so long. Because I noticed, boy-oh-boy have I noticed, how I have felt after each encounter with these four very different Croatian men. Not that it is all important but it is of merit to note that each of these men is at least 14 years younger than I am.

With the first man it was like ‘coming home’. Safe, protected, a sense of continuity that felt ancient, comfortable in both silence and in conversation, with him (and this is hard to explain) I kiss youfelt an extension of my greatest self, perhaps, because in many regards we are both rather unconventional. And when it came to expressions of passion, the kiss I will remember and draw energy from for the rest of my life seemed ripped from a romance novel. The second man to win my kisses had, by his own admission over the Thanksgiving dinner table, not kissed (or done anything else with) a woman in six years. There was considerable alcohol involved and some energetic ‘egging on’ because another man nearby was being dismissive of the former man’s rationale and (what I sensed) deep pain and his own admitted fear on behalf of his son. And so, initially I shared three, not passionate, kisses with him to remind him of the pleasure that can be had from such. He seem both confused, delighted and ‘warmed’ by this – eventually taking the initiative and seemed to enjoy himself to the point that he asked to have me spend the night with him. (um, no.) Man number three, one of my two dates yesterday, is exactly half my age – still a man in chronological years, and sufficiently so to have actively pursued a date with me. We had fun. Enjoyed amazing hot hot chocolatechocolate together on the Riva in Grad Trogir. He (easily) agreed to my request to rescue the remaining pomegranates on the tree in front of the abandoned house in Trogir in which I have fallen in love.  I now have a lovely bag full of these jewels which otherwise would have found themselves rotting on the ground as a result of yesterday’s Bura and todays’ rain storm.  He is very sweet, and earnest, but in many ways he really is too young in terms of life experience for this to be ‘anything’.  My second date yesterday is 18 years my junior, but sufficient experience to not feel any lacking. His candor and overt sexual interest in me was palpable from moment one.  He kissed me within 15 minutes of our meeting (and he was really very good at it). The best kiss of the evening took place against a 400 year old stone wall in a narrow alley of Seget Donji – his hands both cupping my face and then in my hair (where, as a great many terrific lovers know the nerve endings in our scalp make us particularly sensitive to erotic stimulation). His sexual energy is very much like that of Mickey Rourke in this scene from 9 1/2 weeks too dangerous to maintain one’s sanity and certainly not sustainable.

One thing is for certain, I need to recalibrate as I can tell that my trajectory has been influenced by the sharing of this tender intimacy in ways that are very uncomfortable to who I am. Like a hangover for my energy I have allowed myself to get swept up ‘in the moments’. Making up for lost time? Squandered resources? No, not either. I feel very much like the meme above about kisses being like drinking salt water. I can’t undo this, and some I most certainly would not change because in these experiences have offered me a greater cognition, and with such I come closer to completion. Still, a little discernment going forward would be a very good idea and a practical consideration worth embracing.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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Dearly Beloved We Are Gathered Here Today – a love letter to Boston

mateDearly Beloved,

The vows we make to love, honour and cherish are often thought of as the point of commitment following a courtship, sometimes – without realizing how or why – we make a commitment long before we even meet the love of our life.  This love embraces us, carries our burdens when we are weak, makes us stronger, gives and receives, become intrinsic to our psyche, this love becomes ‘home’ in every sense.

Me, age 17, September 1978, senior year picture

Me, age 17, September 1978, senior year picture

At the beginning of our senior years in high school (at least in the United States) we are asked to not only synopsize four years (including a school year not yet ‘lived’) but also to frame our dreams and life goals and it’s not lost on me that my personal summary read:

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First, please note, I had never traveled to Boston as a child, I didn’t have relatives that lived there, no personal reference point to have expressed this life goal. In fact my first sighting of the Boston skyline was via the Mass Pike as a 23 year-old newlywed bride when we stayed with a friend in Newton en route to Portsmouth, New Hampshire where my husband had a job interview. In 1998, divorced with my former husband’s words echoing in my ears “I am keeping you from being everything you are capable of becoming”, my new tech employer gave me the option of working out of the headquarters at 55 Broad Street in New York City or the ‘geek center’ off of Alewife Brook Parkway in Cambridge; the location was a no brainer as I actually loathe how NYC drains me energetically, and because I have long been a proud member of Red Sox Nation – this was my rebellion against my hockey-loving father who “would rather watch paint dry” than baseball – I was Boston bound!

Map copyright and more info at: www.emeraldnecklace.org

Map copyright and more info at: http://www.emeraldnecklace.org

Boston. And surrounds. Separate but entwined, each better because of the unique characteristics of the other, a rich tapestry, a complex piece of music, a gorgeous piece of art, red brick and puddingstone, slate sidewalks and iron fences, arcing spans to walk across in the ‘Emerald Necklace’ or on “The” Charles – oh, my ‘self’ and my love. charles

For a decade I lived with you, was defined, made whole and existed as the best person I have ever been intellectually.  I (inadvertently) found sanctuary in Emmanuel Episcopal with its exquisite music and thoughtful, inclusive and very progressive community, every week you offered up lectures about things I didn’t know I needed to know at the Boston Public Library, Harvard, MIT, the Theosophical Society and Swedenborg Chapel and chamber concerts with BEMF and Boston Philharmonic, at Sanders Theatre, Jordan Hall, and the acoustically perfect Medieval courtyard of the Fogg.  I was left breathless and renewed swimming in Cape Ann’s icy coastal waters as well as inspired by the collections at the MFA, Peabody Essex, the Sackler, Fogg (which with the Busch-Reisinger will reopen this fall as one museum as designed by Renzo Piano) and the Isabella Stewart Gardner  Boston, my beloved, you gave me life as if I had crossed the driest desert to find an palm oasis with a single cup hanging from an ancient hand-wrought chain affixed to a stone surround protecting an artesian spring of pure water from which to drink without abatement. Sustenance. Oh Boston, thank you.

Photo by Raymond Britt

Photo by Raymond Britt

I have been back and forth since 2002 when life forced me away from you and all you give. And when, last year this time, two young men who you also embraced betrayed you and then set out to destroy all of your beauty and turn you and your surrounds into a war zone my heart twisted in wretched agony and I cried copious and unrelenting tears. Oh, my love, oh, my dear Boston.

A serendipitous gift brought me back to you this weekend, and what I carried now as part of my being was renewed in your energy in places as familiar to me as the shape of my own lips which I used to metaphorically kiss you with tender spoken memories created together and to express endearments held tightly in my heart but always shed in tears of gratitude to be back with you if only fleetingly.

cherry

Boston Public Garden

As I walked with my best girlfriend (whose wanderlust made this re-connection possible) through my former ‘front yard’ of Boston Public Gardens (explaining what she was seeing and my history laid against the backdrop) the memories of a decade of pink confetti falling from your 100 plus year old cherry trees fell through my mind as if I were inside a snow globe, in this moment of transcendence the scar tissue ruptured.  Not a helicopter heading for Mass General but most clearly a surveillance one broke the rapture, and then another helicopter two minutes later – I was undone.  Our hearts are resilient, our psyche’s mend, but still scar tissue reminds us that to love sometimes means that we will also be hurt, and that when our beloved is hurt it scars us as well.

I came home to you dear Boston for the purpose of sharing you with someone who needs your love as I once did and in incremental steps from Brookline to the Back Bay, to Longwood and the Fenway to Cape Ann and back to Cambridge to Beacon Hill – you did exactly what I hoped you would, you embraced, and nurtured and sustained with the deep refreshment of your very existence. Thank you my beloved, but you had one more gift – for me, thank you. You reminded me that home is not where you live, or where you were born, it’s not the objects which surround you no, truly, ‘home’ is where the heart is.  We carry ‘home’ around with us and breathe it in like an asana and Boston you have been my home longer than you know.  On this trip, at every intersection of my old life with my current one, you seemed to anoint me with blessings. Against your refined beauty you also brought me (utterly incongruent) Croatian messages, making it clear that my new lover whose spine curves along the Adriatic languidly awaits, ready to embrace me.

I will always love you, my darling Boston, I will miss you but you will always be my hearts’ home.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via livelikeadog@gmail.com through PayPal, and do share it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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Hack ~ innovation to global happiness

To hack used to be something I did ‘to be useful’ out in the “back forty” with one of these – you swing it back and forth thus ‘hacking’ the weeds down to something more manageable for a mower unit on a tractor to cover, or to till the earth without having all the seed heads getting into Imagethe dirt and creating even more work in the long run.

Hacking hasn’t been that for me for a very long time, primarily because in the early 1990s I landed a MarComm Manager role at a tech company spun out of the IBM, MCI and Merit called, then, ANS CORE Systems, Inc., shortly thereafter, changed to ANS Communications.  At that point, amidst towers, air conditioned closets, vast pyramids of empty cans of Mountain Dew and Coca-Cola, my awareness of hacking shifted dramatically; hacking became something our team of programmers protected our Fortune 500 client base from happening to their information systems with firewall and VPDN solutions.  Each and every one of my colleagues possessed the technical skills capable of breaking into, rather than protecting, IT systems but each had the moral compass to ‘do no harm’.  They were (and continue to be) innovators – way ahead of the technology curve that most of us deal with on a daily basis and obsessed with achieving perfection in code – my job was to shine a spotlight on the product suite they developed and have it gain adoption with our core audiences.

The general public is a bit more aware of hacking today – security breaches abound from crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, to Forbes and Neiman Marcus – it’s generally a rather nefarious association to hack something.  But thankfully hacking is emerging from doing “a hack job” to something about fostering positive disruption of a less-than-ideal status quo by applying the creativity inherent to each and every one of us.

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To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.

 — Albert Einstein

Several months ago I sat enraptured watching Logan LaPlante’s TEDx presentation on hacking his education – I am not a mom, but had I been such I would so want to create an environment for learning and living life for my kids as his parents clearly have.  At the end of the day it is Logan doing the heavy lifting on his life with a maturity that far too many of us (insert any nationality) do not possess. Self awareness, discipline, creativity and curiosity drive him (as much as his love of skiing on fresh powder).  The seminal article by Dr Roger Walsh referenced by Logan encompasses eight building blocks of a happy and healthy life and are referred to as Therapeutic Lifestyles Changes (TLCs) and I can’t help but wonder why (like Logan) this path to living has not become more mainstream – well, in fact I do know why, as do most of us.

The paradigm of happiness is treated like a Holy Grail instead of something common to our experience and when our reality fails to ‘live up to’ the perception drilled into our psyche by the media we chose ‘medication’ (pills, alcohol or on the psychiatrists’ sofa) rather than stepping into the void. The core outcome of hacking is innovation ~ seeing the possibility of doing something easier, with greater style or more efficiently, fostering positive impact for ourselves and the world around us all of which exist at the core of social responsibility.

ImageThere are hundreds of thousands of ‘hackers’ whose efforts have produced totally cool end results, but I want to share two extremes of creative thinking with you that I believe have real possibilities of fostering paradigm shifts in many of our lives.  Though I don’t personally know any of these people the term lifehack comes immediately to mind when I think of Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin of the Swedish firm Hövding who have created a cyclists dream come true – a bike helmet that is essentially a personal airbag, and the disruptive microfinance and financial inclusion technology model created by the Croatian firm Oradian‘s co-founders Antonio Separovic, Andrew Mainhart, Julian Oehrlein and Onyeka Adibeli.  I think it is a reasonable assumption to write that their quality of life is enhanced because each recognised in themselves creativity begging for outlet and then, as a fundamental principle of their businesses, they engaged in work that both stimulates them and which also incorporates ‘service to others’.  

Yes, I realise that my perception of any of these, and thousands of others, individuals might be skewed toward something larger than reality but in believing such perhaps the resonance of innovationpositive carries forward to inspire more creativity, catalysing innovation and fostering change.

As the Buddha is credited with saying, “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.”

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and do share it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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