This week I had several plans for this newsletter. I wanted to reflect on climate anxiety, following the latest damning IPCC report. I planned to write a piece in praise of the work of midwives. I am also still processing an interview on the importance of reading out loud, as well as profiles of two play-based daycares, one in Thailand and one in Greece, not to mention several book reviews.
But I spent last week reporting in Lesbos, the Greek island that became the centre of a refugee crisis in 2015. I worked non-stop for ten days, and I am — frankly — exhausted. I am so tired I don’t even know how to whip together some thoughts about some of the beautiful books I’ve been reading (Stranger Care by Sarah Sentilles had me in tears, but more about that soon) or even to link to other work by smart journalists out there.
I am a little out of words. My plan for today was to work on this newsletter, but I will do something revolutionary (for me at least!) instead. I’m taking a day off, and I’ll go on a date with Nacho, my partner, while Lorenzo is in daycare.
I am not going to tell you much about the importance of resting and taking care of ourselves. Or the importance of laziness for us and our children — I wrote about that a few weeks ago. I tried to remind myself to slow down at some point last year, but I am not sure I was successful at it.
So, there you go. Imagine me walking down the cobbled streets of Plaka, in downtown Athens, taking pictures of graffiti the way I love to do. And, if you can, take a little revolutionary break yourself, and tell me how it goes, under this story. (The comment section is only for paying members, so you can always send me an email instead.)
For the time being, this newsletter will be reaching your inboxes on Thursdays rather than Wednesdays because it fits better my current schedule. I will let you know if things change again.
What I’ve been reading
In this story, Sofiia, a 16 year old from Kyiv, explains how she escaped her native city and arrived safely to Poland, with her grandmother, younger brother and their dog. She can’t quite process that the normal life she had until 24 February came to an end with Putin’s invasion. “Where did that life that I know go? What will happen to my plans? To those five minutes rushing before the lesson to finish my homework? To the volleyball matches, and final exams, and getting ready for the senior prom… How could it all just disappear?” she writes. A touching first-person account of what this war has meant for just one of the 1.5 million children who have fled the country.
What I’ve been watching
I really enjoyed Reprise, a Norwegian movie by director Joachim Trier about two young aspiring novelists in their twenties, from rich families in Oslo. Phillip and Erik have been best friends since childhood. They share a passion for an obscure, iconic writer, and they both write novels they send off for publication. They live in a boys-first, privileged world, full of strict rules about art (it comes above all else) and women (they are stupid). When Phillip struggles with his mental health, Erik helps him out. But the film reveals very clearly how embarrassed the boys are about their friend who is “unwell” and “needing rest”. It is beautifully filmed too.
Who’s been inspiring me
Martin, the son of these nomadic shepherds in northern Italy, spends his days with his parents as they follow their flock of sheep and milk their goats in the pastures of the Dolomites in northern Italy. The family is one of the very few nomadic shepherds that live in northern Italy, spending their winters in a caravan and their summers renting land to pasture their sheep at a higher altitude. Italian photographer Bruno Zanzottera and anthropologist Elena Dak followed this couple for over a year and shared their pictures and story with The Guardian. I am extremely interested in nomadic lifestyles and had no idea there were nomadic shepherds. Thanks to Dan, a member of The First 1,000 Days Community, who shared this link. He added this poetic message: “It reminded me of you guys, nomads. Except that you shepherd words, not sheep!”
With love and care,
📣 The First 1,000 Days is edited by community member and friend, Shaun Lavelle, who wishes you a very happy — and restful! — St. Patrick’s Day from Ireland.
Photo credits and alt-text: Irene Caselli, “panta rhei” sign under a wooden grey door.…