The Case of the Gifted Choristers

This is a project I am part of and a great joy in my life.

When I realised that I could not in fact dance, I was forced to admit defeat, acknowledging also that I had all the grace and poise of a baboon in a tutu. Ah well! But then I discovered that I can actually sing, which is why I joined ZHN Symphonik.

The choir is a project within Żgħażagħ Ħaddiema Nsara (ZHN). For your benefit, Dear Reader, ZHN Malta is part of the International Young Christian Workers movement. *

A fun and energetic choir. But what makes ZHN Symphonik unique is promoting social justice – and all that entails – with each performance. The choir also raises funds for worthy causes.

Which brings me to our annual concert – OHANA! WE ARE FAMILY! This year, the choir wants to help various families in Malta who struggle daily with their livelihood. The latest published statistical reports show an alarming increase in the number of families deprived from everyday necessities and trying to cope with daily expenses.

There’s more! Here’s a sweet deal: each ticket purchased is a pledge of a specific item which will be donated to these families. We choristers will in fact go on a shopping spree after the concert to buy food, household goods and stationery which will then be donated to these families.

All information about Ohana! We are Family! is available here: https://www.facebook.com/events/670795506326693/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

ZHN Symphonik is also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/symphonik.choir

 

 

* Follow this link to learn more about the international movement: http://www.joci.org/

The Love Letter

It is a truth universally acknowledged – by my best friends at least – that I am a hopeless romantic.

I’ll let you in on a secret, Dear Reader, I used to be ashamed to admit it. I would try to convince myself that those love stories are silly. You know the rigmarole – girl meets boy, they fall in love, they face hardship and distress, la di la di la, overcome it all and get married and live happily ever after. Ick! Right? Even while reading ‘Jane Eyre’ when I was eleven – nowadays one of my favourite books – I would still try to convince myself that classic romance and love stories are soppy and just plain stupid. That all changed however when I was introduced to Jane Austen.

Perhaps it’s because I was growing up, but when I read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ some years ago, I remember thinking, ‘Ah! What the hey? I’m a romantic! Nothing wrong with that, is there?’ Hear me out, Dear Reader – I am not saying that I like every romance novel and piece of fiction ever written. Bella and Edward? Thank you, no! But Ms Austen is the genius who gave us some of the best – in my opinion – couples in literature: Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy; Emma Woodhouse and Mr Knightley; and Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth. She also gave us that love letter!

Ok, a bit of context first: Anne Elliot is engaged to be married to Captain Frederick Wentworth but she is ‘persuaded’ that his situation in life is not suitable and she calls off the engagement. Heartbroken, he goes back to sea and serves in the navy during the wars. Fast-forward almost nine years and Anne is still in love with the Captain. They meet again through family and both find out that neither is ‘attached’ shall we say. He absolutely must know how she feels about him and writes her one of the most beautiful love letters in the history of love letters. It still gets me every time I read it …

 

I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone I think and plan. – Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? – I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice, when they would be lost on others. – Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating in

                                                                                                                                                                               F. W.

I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s  house this evening, or never.

 

Small wonder Anne Elliot waited all those years for him. Even now, I’m reaching for that tissue …

 

Image

Copyright – BBC

 

 

 

The Diary of a Young Girl

Nope, not a book review. But the world and its aunt is busy following the World Cup, and let’s just say football bores me silly. The words “offside” and “penalty” are Greek to me, and I have never managed to watch a whole match without actually dozing off way before half-time. So no, on the day of the World Cup 2014 opening ceremony, I decided to focus on what is important to me.

12 June 2014 marks what would have been Anne Frank’s 85th birthday. To commemorate this event, the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam asked followers to express what Anne Frank means to them using the #AnneFrank2014. I wished to pay my own little tribute to the young diarist…

Four years ago, I was on holiday in Amsterdam with a friend of mine and, both of us being bookworms and lovers of history, we visited the Anne Frank house. We had agreed that travelling to Amsterdam without seeing the house on the Prinsengracht and its Secret Annexe, would be close to mortal sin. Reader, I confess that four years on, I am still haunted and still shaken. My imagination that day four years ago was a curse – I saw the pictures and posters on the walls in Anne’s room, but I also saw Anne hanging those pictures on the walls; I saw the little desk, but I also saw Anne sitting at her desk writing in her checked diary; I saw the markings on the walls with measurements of Anne and Margot’s heights, but I also saw the sisters standing against that wall while their heights were marked in pencil.

I read Anne’s diary when I was thirteen years old when a family friend lent me a copy of the book. I am ashamed to admit that back then, I missed the point. I was naive and silly – what I read was the ramblings of a young girl my age while in hiding during a horrific war;  a young girl who was the victim of one of the biggest genocides in history; and the girl because of whom I started keeping a diary. What I should have read, was the thoughts of a young girl wise beyond her years – a girl who had faith and courage. A girl who, faced with great adversity, still believed that people are really good at heart.

And as I conclude my tribute to my little heroine, allow me, Dear Reader, to share one of my favourite Anne Frank quotes:

Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.

 

anne_diary_excerpt