Posted by: Corri van de Stege | July 1, 2007

Travelogue (cont’d) – T5


After the first few days of non-stop rain, the soil is soggy, but after a bit of hesitation the sun came through and, persevering, it became quite hot this afternoon – sleep inducing and lazy. 

I have started a story about a great aunt of yours, your father’s aunt, who died quite young.  She was your grandfather’s sister and this is another story of a woman who defies her culture but who cannot win, will not win.  I have now decided that my 51 stories for you will have that theme: women within cultural change, women living across the globe, moving from one environment and language to another, defying, sometimes winning and sometimes losing:  girls at a loss, young women defying and challenging and sometimes winning, the victory always painful and more regret. 

Where I come from, it has always been about men, their needs and their obeisance to god and culture, always theirs, women playing second fiddle because god is male and fathers and men are there to perpetuate his power and might.  I escaped all that.  I don’t really think however that we have become equal, not yet, not even now in 2007.  Your great aunt’s story, the way I am interpreting it, is another witness to this loss that is suffered, the destroying impositions.   Have things changed?  No, not yet, not enough: only recently we read the story of the daughter being killed on the order of father and uncle, because she did not live by their rules, the rules of what they believe to be supreme.   Whether it is Arab, Iranian, Moslem, Calvinism, Chinese, Catholicism or any other culture or religion: many assume male order and female submission. 

Lesley Garrett on a summer evening in France, wide open doors, singing the Bailero and then the Lascia Chio Pianga from Rinaldo: a perfect end to one of the first days of a holiday.  Lara, I have seen you listen to music, total absorption and hope you will retain that immersion and solitariness, your own world.  I remember the flute player in Norwich, busking, we were walking by, on our way to the car and you stopped, stood in absolute quietness, oblivious to the business of the street and the shoppers, people stopping looking at you, a two year old, so engrossed in listening to the music and then the waking up in bewilderment, shy with the musician who relished your attentiveness.


  1. You made me remember my childhood here in Spain. In churches women had to sit on a different wing from men, veils on their heads were compulsory. There was no wholesale education for women, they had to learn home tasks and that was all. Few, very few, had conscious parents and could go through universities. That was about 60 years ago. Not very long ago in a lifetime. Today everyting has changed although there still exist differences as far as jobs are concerned, differences that are being filled little by little.

  2. I know…. I sometimes wonder whether I’ll be writing for quite a different generation: I seem to be lost somewhere in the middle!

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