Today’s post is dedicated to the power of images.  I have become increasingly aware of the power of imagining, of recreating images to understand the realities of the past- both painful and joyful events.  I have also realized that words can conjure up images.  These 10 highlights of the past month show how powerful images can be when trying to tell a story.

1.  Laura.  Laura is a professional photographer and former Fulbrighter, who has been traveling with me and documenting, through photographs, the people and places that are important to my research.  She has not only captured the images that represent the experiences of Jewish refugee children, she has also helped me show the themes important and ever-present in the interviews I have conducted with the child survivors.  Oh, and her photos are beautiful.

2.  Laura and I had the unique opportunity to accompany a Geneva historian, Claire, on a day long trip across the frontiers, the French-Swiss borders, where many Jewish refugees crossed, mostly illegally.  We heard some amazing stories, and tried to imagine what the borders were like 65 years ago, when occupied by German and French forces.  We even saw some remnants of the time period, including a pension where Catholic men studied and hid refugees, surrounded by the original barbed wire that separated France and Switzerland.

3.  An article I wrote about my experiences so far, as well as Laura’s photos, will be featured on the Fulbright U.S. Student Blog/Website.  http://blogs.fulbrightonline.org/usapp/  Should be updated soon!

4.  My mom came to visit last week, and we were able to take some incredible pictures of Swiss landscapes.  We photographed Ouchy at sunset- the lakeside part of Lausanne, Zurich, and also the mountains equipped with snow on our train ride to Gruyere.  It was especially clear on the days that she visited. The Droid takes surprisingly good pictures!  Thanks, mom, for bringing me a new camera, too!

5.  I am in the process of creating and editing video clips for end of the year presentations, in addition to creating and compiling this story for academic journals.

6.  My internship at the WHO/OMS has gotten off to a great start.  I’ve been doing meaningful work, and today we had a holiday lunch and party with my department.  I’ve been spending a lot of time with another intern, who is also “non-traditional”, and it’s been a great experience learning from him.  At the party, they posted young pictures of each employee and had prizes for those who could guess them correctly!

7.  Skype on the IPad 2 is AMAZING!  I could see my brother and my whole family on Thanksgiving, and was passed around to talk to everyone.

8.  While my mom was visiting in Lausanne, I saw two amazing art exhibits.  One was a display of student’s art from the whole canton of Vaud, from ages 7 to 16.  Some of the art was really creative, inspiring, and beautiful.

9.  The second exhibit I saw was a photo exhibit at the Cathedral in Lausanne that displayed life in different cities that have citizens of mixed religions.  My favorite photo was a bench in the metro, with two Muslim women with hijabs sitting and chatting on one side, and two Armenian priests sitting on the other end of the bench.

10.  Ben is coming in a week from tomorrow!  We will take a LOT of pictures of our trip, so wait for those! 

Facebook has a new album with my landscape photos.  I will add some more here tomorrow.  Laura’s photos are not ready yet but will be in due time!

 

Bisous and Happy Holidays from Suisse!

Love,

Sam