Okt 31 2016

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Ein Lächeln

Abgelegt unter Also!,Deutsch

Heute morgen bin ich mal wieder Laufen gegangen. Es war noch kühl und neblig. Einiges an Laub hing noch am Baum, vieles lag in bunter Farbenpracht zu meinen Füßen.
Ich habe mir angewöhnt, die Leute zu grüßen, an denen ich vorbeilaufe. Manche erwidern den Gruß, manche reagieren gar nicht, manche sind verdutzt und rufen dann „Guten Morgen“ hinterher.
Heute morgen kam mir eine Frau auf einem Teilstück durch den Park entgegen. Ich war gerade nach rechts abgebogen und über die kleine Brücke gelaufen. Jetzt ging es ein Stück geradeaus auf einem breiteren Weg, der von großen Kastanien gesäumt war. Die Frau sah mich schon länger als ich sie. Als ich ihr – kurz bevor wir beieinander waren – ein „Morgen“ zurief, antwortete sie mit einem breiten Lächeln: „Guten Morgen“.
Oh, war das eine Freude!
Beim Laufen hängen wir unseren Gedanken nach, wir nehmen nur einen Teil der Welt war. Dann kommt ein Lächeln ganz unvermittelt. Wie herrlich! Wie schön, wenn uns jemand anlächelt. Ich nehme mir vor, die Leute jetzt mit einem Lächeln zu grüßen. Wann lächelst du mich an?

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Jun 04 2015

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Anreise zur Rotary Convention 2015 in Sao Paulo

Abgelegt unter Aha,Deutsch

Beim Anflug nach Sao Paulo gleicht die Stadt noch einem nächtlichen Lichtermeer, doch schon auf dem Weg vom Flughafen zum Hotel geht die Sonne auf. In Brasilien ist es aktuell Herbst und es geht auf den Winter zu. Deshalb liegen die Temperaturen zwischen 15 und 25 Grad Celsius.

Sao Paulo Free Walking Tour

We took the Sao Paulo Free Walking Tour

Nach einem kurzen Stopp im Hotel, um uns frischzumachen, brechen wir gleich wieder zu einer Walking Tour durch die Altstadt von Sao Paulo auf. In einem 4-stündigen Spaziergang kommen wir an den wichtigsten Sehenswürdigkeiten dieser beeindruckenden brasilianischen Metropole vorbei. Wir gehen zum Ursprungspunkt der Stadt, wo einst Jesuiten ihre erste Mission errichteten, und zu den drei höchsten Gebäuden; wir kämpfen uns durch den Verkehr und bewundern Kathedralen; wir erleben die verschiedenen Facetten einer Stadt mit viel Reichtum und viel Armut.

 

A Pedestrian crossing in Sao Paulo

Walking Through Sao Paulo

Streets of Sao Paulo

View into the streets of the valley in the middle of the city

View of the park and the skyscrapers

View of the park and the skyscrapers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Am späten Nachmittag findet dann das Leaders‘ Meeting der Preconvention statt. Alle Rotaracter, die Workshops leiten, Diskussionen moderieren oder sich sonst engagieren, werden mit ihren Aufgaben vertraut gemacht und treffen sich gegenseitig. Die meisten von uns kommen aus Lateinamerika, einige aus den USA und wir sind immerhin zu dritt aus Deutschland. Wir sprechen das Programm durch und stellen uns vor: die Stimmung wird von der Vorfreude auf eine tolle Konferenz geprägt. Nach dem Check-In geht es jetzt noch zur Welcome-Party. Dort werden die ersten Kontakte geknüpft und alte Freundschaften aufgegriffen. Das Convention-Fieber hat uns wieder. Sao Paulo verspricht, großartig zu werden.

Rotaractors and Rotarians

Rotaract leaders an Rotary staff

Meeting Rotary logos on the street - End Polio Now

Meeting Rotarians everywhere – the same ideals bring us together

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Dez 14 2014

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Meeting like diplomats in the Board Room

Abgelegt unter English,Well, you know

Sometimes we get the chance to get a glimpse of what the world is like in those areas where the big decisions are made. During this Rotarian year 2014/15, I have the great honor to serve on the Rotaract/Interact-Committee of Rotary International. It comprises 11 people from around the world and in order to discuss our different points more effectively, we had one meeting in person where we all came to the Rotary International headquarters in Evanston, USA.

The meeting took place on the highest floor of the building (floor 18) in the „Board Room“. It’s a large room where you find in the middle a table in the shape of an elliptical ring. In the middle of the ring, there are huge screens where the presentation slides are shown. In front of your seat, you find a small microphone. It may be helpful for people who speak very low, but it is crucial for the interpreters. On one side of the room, there are several booths for the interpreter. They can see into the room without being seen themselves and they will only hear what you say when the microphone is switched on.
It is fascinating how well the discussion worked being effectively held in 3 languages: English, Japanese and Spanish.

As participants, we came from 5 different continents, all different walks of life and with different backgrounds. It was fascinating to see how well we could work on all the topics and discuss our different viewpoints – always in an atmosphere trying to find a consensus.
In the future, I will certainly look differently at pictures from diplomatic meetings – having experienced what it feels like to work in such a setting.

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Dez 10 2014

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Go West!

Wintermarkt at Munich airport
Once again, I’m off to the US. It’s my first meeting with the Rotaract-Interact Committee and we have plenty of very interesting topics. So my first destination is Chicago and more precisely Evanston, the headquarters of Rotary International.
Afterwards, I have the chance to go back to Detroit and see my families. Great times ahead!

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Jun 15 2014

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Learning about Lady Elliot Island

Abgelegt unter English,Well, you know

This little island just off the Australian coast is so beautiful. It’s circle shaped and lying without any close neighbors at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef forming the endpoint of the Reef.

DSC_1787 DSC_1784

It has been mined for guano, which is basically bird poo, in the late 19th century. Back then, all but 10 trees have been cut down and 1 meter of dirt has been taken from the entire island. It was sold as fertilizer and as an ingredient for gun powder. The whole island was stripped from most of its vegetation.

The only people who lived constantly on the island where the lighthouse keeper and his family. Eventually an Australian convinced the government to take tourists on the island and he regrew plants and trees. We learned about the Pisonia trees who are original to the island and the Casuarina trees who refertilize the soil and stabilize its surroundings. Besides, we saw the impressive Pandarum tree that just grows new roots every now and then. It sometimes looks as if a didgeridoo has been put underneath a horizontal branch to support it.

Then you find interesting birds on the island. Some of them (the White-Capped Noddy) have the nice habit of pooping all over making it just a question of time until you’d be hit. We learned that it apparently brings good luck…we still wait for what great things will have to happen now. Since there are no usual land-bound animals, the birds have no real predator. So they can sit, walk and nest on the ground.

The coral around the island has grown over thousands of years and there are beautiful fish around. We’ve seen whales breach and flap their tales, we swam with sharks, we floated alongside turtles and had a school of big eye travelleys beneath us. The wildlife is beautiful! It’s amazing! It’s breathtaking!

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Jun 11 2014

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Getting to Lady Elliot Island

Abgelegt unter English,Well, you know

Not knowing where you’d want to go, can take you to the most beautiful places. On the recommendation of an Aussie in the Gympie area, we decided to go to the southernmost island of the Great Barrier Reef: Lady Elliot Island!

The coral cay is lying completely isolated in the ocean. We came in on a little 15 person propeller plane. Since it was full to the last seat, the pilot asked me if I wanted to sit next to him…Awesome!

So after we had left the mainland and headed in northeastern direction out over the Pacific, it was blue sky and blue ocean all around us. Eventually, we got through some clouds and then the pilot pointed forward: “There’s your island.” The airstrip to land on is stretching 600m over the entire island and it’s a grass strip. So, landing there is apparently more difficult than on concrete lanes.

We circled twice around the island and could enjoy the great view over this circle shaped coral cay with turquoise water around it. Then we started to descend towards the runway and landed safely on the airstrip. We had lots of speed so we used the runaway all the way to its end so that we could just turn at the end in order to park the plane on the side of it.

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Jun 05 2014

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From the metropolis to dirt roads

Abgelegt unter English,Well, you know

Abendessen unterwegs

After having spent 9 wonderful days in Sydney, we have boarded a plain today to fly out of the now rainy weather. From the at times strong rainfall we came to Brisbane into a warm climate. After we had our private pickup at the airport, we got our car for the next 12 days: a Toyota Corolla.

Two rounds of Tetris and all of our luggage was packed and we were off further northbound. We had reserved a place to stay not far from the highway so that we could keep going even further north the next day. We found ourselves getting in the area of Gymsie when it was pitch-black outside with beautiful stars up…now find the place we wanted to spend the night!

We got off the highway, onto a smaller road, which led to an even smaller road. This one had impressive climbs and drops on it with steepnesses beyond the 10%. Finally, we turned on a dirt road and only at the „No through road“-sign did we believe, that this was not the good one. So we made a U-turn, went back and finally arrived at a beautifully remote house at the end of the other dirt road. The moon is up, the stars are out.

Welcome to Queensland!

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Mai 29 2014

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Welcome Party

Janek, Laura, Flo, Mel

Janek, Laura, Flo, Mel

We had the Welcome-Party to kick off the Pre-Convention. After having met with all other facilitators of the workshops, we have then gathered at the Star Bar to celebrate the Convention spirit. It was great meeting so many happy and enthused Rotaractors, literally from around the world.

Rotaract is connecting people across countries and continents. We can experience this here in Sydney. Besides, it’s so easy and it’s fun.

I’ve been asked in an interview today, if every young person should join Rotaract. I just answered „yes!“. I also explained it, even though you can’t really explain it. You have to experience it!

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Mai 29 2014

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Planting activity at Wanda Beach

Planting at Wanda Beach

In order to do a social project, we were about 15 Rotaractors to go to Wanda Beach south of Sydney to help a planting project. Local volunteers are working to replant a huge stretch of the coast in a project which is estimated to take until 2020. The goal is to stabilize the beach and to help preserve the landscape.

We then took gloves, shovels, spades and the plants and set about on the dunes. It was much easier opening the ground for the plants and putting in the little plants than it had been planting trees in Germany. Isn’t it great that we got to do a social activity which is in line with our Bundessozialaktion (buso.rotaract.de)?

Rotary has made a short film about the planting acivity and I’m happy to see that my words fit to the occasion: http://vimeo.com/96971768

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Mai 29 2014

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The other side of the world…?!

I have to admit that I was a little disappointed of not feeling totally amazed by being on the other side of the world. People speak english…I have seen that. The houses look like those I had seen in the US and in the UK…so no jaw-dropping either. Life seems so comparable to all I knew…and I had hoped to feel something special being that far away.

Today, this changed. We were walking across the Harbour Bridge and I tried to get my directions straight, thinking that we probably are heading northbound and the opera is in our east. Always double-check your assumptions when risking to walk for quite a way in the wrong direction, I was glad I did. Since it was around 11 and bright sunshine, the sun would have to be somewhere behind me if I was heading north. I looked back. No sun. Strange! I looked right and left. No sun. (Can you imagine how strange it feels to have a blue sky and looking for the sun? 😉 ) And then, suddenly, I realized that on this side of the equator, the sun is in the north at lunchtime. I looked up and there it was, bright and shining. It’s probably hard to imagine, but I got goose-bumps from realizing that a fact that had been one of the most absolute in my life so far, had just changed.

The sun, we learned, can never be north of you. Yes, it can. It doesn’t matter if life is very comparable to ours back home. Now, I’m so amazed of being on the other side of the world!!!

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