(Please do not watch John Oliver’s Tonight Show video if you feel offended by scenes of a sexual nature and bad language)
Hello, dear readers, I hope you are well and had a good time at Christmas despite everything. And if you do not celebrate Christmas, or had to work, that you had a comfortable week or shift despite everything.
So, only three days to go and 2020 is over. What a year it has been. My prediction of the Zombie Apocalypse hasn’t come about yet and I have to admit I am quite happy about that. But it’s still three…. well, let’s not go there.
I saw one photo on Instagram that made me laugh out loud and expresses what many of us think, I guess:
I find myself more and more searching for words. Life seems to change at such a rate, I can’t keep up. And my life has been on hold anyway this year because of the diagnosis of breast cancer nearly a year ago. 2020 was filled for me with doctor and hospital appointments and hiding at home.
Or you could call it sheltering. For many that would be an utter nightmare but for me it was a comfort. I find it harder and harder to be around people. I seem to pick up so much on their emotions which impacts me a lot. This way I could mostly concentrate on myself and healing. And remembering where I come from.
2020 was the year I became 50 and I finished menopause. Something I very much embrace as I’ve never been the keen one on needing to have children of my own. I am a proud step-mom. My children from another mother are wonderful, and I am very grateful I am allowed to be in their lives.
I was about to celebrate that the occasional hot flush was over, until I realised, I have to take Tamoxifen for the next 10 years. The breast cancer I have, reacts on oestrogen so this drug stops it to create more cancer. But for me, it means several hot flushes a day. While in the last 7 years I literally had only the odd one at night. Welcome to the “Tena Lady Club” as my mother-in-law said jokingly. LOL. But it’s worth it, if I never have to have chemotherapy or radiotherapy again. Definitely!
Currently, I feel I want to post less. That might change again. That’s how I roll. I have breaks and then I post like mad. Going to extremes. I will keep my blog and my social media mostly private. No need to keep my ex informed about what is going on. He might have sneaked his way in with an alias already but I haven’t heard anything from him since November so I trust he has given up. That would be a relief.
Ah, I feel I ramble. And I seem to repeat myself a lot in my posts. Sorry.
But there is life in me yet. In fact, I love life which I never realized before having cancer. But what I have seen has taken its toll and my heart has and sometimes still does long for death. However, my soul has been spared for whatever reason, so I will celebrate life no matter what. I will try to keep being your cheerleader, when the going gets tough, and send out my blessing for humankind every day. We desperately need it I feel. I also feel that this pandemic is just the beginning of enormous change. If we feel 2020 has been tough, we ain’t seen nothing yet.
So brace yourselves. Find ways to be resilient. Hug your loved ones while you can. Enjoy your blessings. There are many, despite everything. And most of all, don’t give up. Because that seems to be the only way. One essay that keeps me going, when I see no sense at all, is Albert Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus“. This universe is absurd. There is no going about it. No matter if you are a religious, spiritual or an atheist person. I believe, we only try to make sense of it, but I have often found that the only way of going forward is “despite it all”. Just getting on with it. So, maybe we try this together and we’ll make it?
And until then, let’s come away to Turkmenistan 🙂
Introduction to Turkmenistan
Ok, today it’s getting weird: A rapping dictator, the gates of hell and and a capital full of white marble buildings but hardly anyone living in it. Oh, and I forgot a dictator’s poetry book that serves as O-level material for school children. Yep, you read right. This sums up, what I could find out about Turkmenistan, which is one of the most secretive countries on this lovely planet. Forget about North Korea ~ this is one crazy dictatorship.
Turkmenistan is mainly desert land with lots of natural gas resources, that Mr Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow (please do not ask me how to say that, I have no idea) the current leader of Turkmenistan mainly seems to use for income for the country. He sells it to China, Russia, and some other countries that are still interested. Being a desert country, you can imagine, it has a rather horse-orientated herding culture. This still seems to thrive as the wealth the country makes by selling gas goes into building lots of giant structures instead of giving its people a more modern life.
The country could probably use both nicely to make some more money with tourism, but they seem to be rather stingy with giving out visas, so there’s not much of that. That is also the reason why my video list is rather dubious this week. I couldn’t use my usual more trusted sources because they either haven’t worked on Turkmenistan, or they simply could not visit. So, here we go, with just a few lovely images and lot’s of opinion on Turkmenistan.
If you want to get some more info please visit Thought.Co and the BBC to find out more. And maybe John Oliver’s Tonight Program from last year on the great leader of Turkmenistan (Sorry for the bad language):
Maybe this video would have been enough to know about the country 😉
So just to warn you: I didn’t even try to find an artist, eco-warrior, or any mention of mental health in Turkmenistan. There might be some information in the depths of the world wide web, but I am not made to excavate it. So we keep to food, poetry, and music and hope for the best.
Food of Turkmenistan
Ok, this is odd. When I keyed in “Food of Turkmenistan” into the YouTube search bar, I got more travel videos of this strange country than “Travel in Turkmenistan”. You ponder this a little bit.
So according to Sasha Martin, Britain is not the only place to savor a good old tea party. Nor the US for that matter ;-). But let’s see what she has to say.
And then there is Pilau an Eastern Asian staple, I guess.
And Asian Recipe even gives us some recipes to try out.
Poetry of Turkmenistan
I think, if you want to write about Turkmen poetry, you have to mention the Ruhnama. It is the poetry book by the previous dictator Saparmurat Niyazov in which he gives spiritual guidance, creates his own version of history and a little bit of personal cult too.
I do not speak Turkmen nor do I have an English version of the book, so I let you learn about it via this video:
I want to mention at this point that Turkmenistan is a Muslim country and poetry is vastly important in Muslim Culture. You might know about Rumi or Khalil Gibran who are still inspiring people from all walks of life and spiritual background. That is probably why Saparmurat Niyazov chose this art form to express himself. Not that you can compare his words to Rumi’s. But it makes more sense why he chose this way.
Some musicians of Turkmenistan
Right, let’s get down to musical business ;-). Well, music-wise there doesn’t seem to be much “popular” music as such. From what I can make of it, there are two extremes: It’s either traditional Turkmen music or its influences or one sort or another of metal. And the odd rapper. But that’s about it. So please, just listen and enjoy or at least feel transported away 🙂
And where are we going next week?
Come Away With Me 2021 Musical Challenge Country for Monday, January 4h, 2021
I am taking a rather random route around the world, but sometimes it makes sense. Next week we venture back East to Portugal. Please find musicians from Portugal on the Last FM page.
As for the suggestions to take part:
- Join in! No matter where, when and with what. No matter if you have cancer or not! You missed the first week? Don’t worry. Just jump in when it suits you.
- Send us the link! The ping-back option does not always work so please leave a link in the comments of the post on the day you take part. Or leave it at the “Come Away With Me 2021 FB page“
- Tag your post either with ” Come Away With Me Musical Challenge”/ #CoAwWiMeMuCh” / “Come Away with Me 2021 Musical Challenge” o/“CoAwWiMe2021MuCh” / . You can also use these as hashtags for Twitter and other Social Networks to give your post more exposure. If you add #blog and #music with your hashtags it will get you more readers.
- No matter which music or country the prompt favours you create with it whatever you please. This is supposed to be a fun challenge and no chore.
- I post a prompt for the next week with every “Come Away With Me 2021 post” I write.
- If you like, use this picture for your readers to find the posts.
Just one more thing before you go: The hospital that is treating me is fundraising for a dedicated breast cancer unit which would allow some same-day diagnosis and better premises for patients and staff.
Please, if you can spare a little money hop over to their Just Giving Page and give as little or much as you can. Or share the page on your social media. So far the campaign has raised about half the amount needed: £418,648 of £800,000 (October 2020).
Your support means a lot to me! Thank you very much.
Thanks, my dears, for staying with me until the end.
I appreciate your presence.
Please stay safe, stay kind and remember that you rock!