From Brown to Wow

Winter in Central Europe can be quite demanding. Especially, when the sky remains grey for several days in a row (or weeks in some parts) and the vegetation does not add much colour, either, as it comes in fifty shades of brown.

While last winter was one of the darkest ever, this one is gentler on us. As a matter of fact, it is quite the opposite as we are spoiled with so much sunshine that February broke records for the amount of it in Switzerland.

Either way, the awakening of nature is something many of us long for. Nature so wonderfully shows us the circle of life, the rhythm of the seasons, and the alternation of quiet rest and powerful growth, don’t you think?

Looking down to the ground is therefore worthwhile right now, because it is that time of the year when the brown soil turns into a wow. The wonder does not last long, however, so I would like to share with you what can be marveled at on a stroll, a bike ride to work, or on a sneak peak into other people’s gardens ;-).

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Surely, you all know snowdrops! But what about spring snowflakes that are not made of snow as the word spring in their name may suggest? Read more

Nowruz – The Beginning of a New Year

I have the pleasure of working with people from all over the world. In a German class I teach I might have course participants from ten different corners of the world with as many languages and cultural backgrounds. Learning is quite often mutual in these classrooms.

When we started the lesson on March 20th with me asking the students what date it was and what was so special about it, I received different answers. Most said that it was the start of spring, but one woman originally from Afghanistan told us it was her beginning of a new year called Nowruz.

So at the exact time as spring officially starts, people growing up with the Persian culture celebrate their new year. This year, it was exactly on March 20th at 5:15:23 pm MEZ. That means, the beginning of the Persian new year changes every year as does the beginning of spring.

Maryam, a friend of mine from Iran I taught German quite a while ago, kindly let me in on the traditions around Nowruz. I was warmheartedly welcomed in their home and served lovely black tea with a hint of fresh mint and traditional specialities in what looks beautifully Iranian.

Nowruz-11
Tea the Iranian way

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