decipherment – The analysis of documents written in ancient languages, where the language is unknown, or knowledge of the language has been lost.

Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. But first they have to understand that their neighbour is, in the end, just like them, with the same problems, the same questions.  ~Paulo Coelho

One thing I love about my job is having the opportunity to travel to and live in different countries long enough to really grow in my understanding of that country, its culture and history to how it has changed throughout history to form its present state of being.

My current position still has me traveling to different countries, but the time frame of staying is likely to be from a few weeks to a few months tops.  This puts a significant amount of pressure on my nature to find ways of gaining the 2-3 years of knowledge and experiences about a country into a shorter time-frame.  This will require me to find more spontaneous and eclectic ways to gain deeper insights.  Though decipherment refers more specifically to the written language, I like to think of it as an all encompassing visual, written, oral, and textile experience in a country.

Country 1 – Doha, Qatar

Lucky for me I am currently working with a group of girls that are as incentivized as I am to see as much of a country, as quickly as possible, from every angle and time period that we have here.

First idea – (not mine) take the metro.  Find your way from point A to point B with minimal knowledge of where we were going or what we would end up doing.  Brilliant that led to so many questions that we had to pick apart to fully understand.  A super insightful way to begin to understand how a country operates.  Destination – National Museum.

So you think you can understand something if you just look at the pictures.  Also, all directions were in both Arabic and English.  Easy peasy .. right?  First off, the yellow picture above was mistaken for an alien .. possibly part of a police force.  Apparently that just means train.  Uh.. duh..  I knew that.. … …

We bought general day pass tickets to use the train.  We get to the metro loading dock and have an option to go into the “standard”, “gold” or “family” doors.  Hmmm.. well.. we are friends but not family.  The gold door was obviously not what we paid for so it seemed “standard” fit the bill.  Except.  Only men stood at this door.  Nope. Not standard.  We followed a group of women into the “family” train.  Phew.. we made it.  Super clean and very quiet.

Then we arrive at the National Museum stop.  I could have spent half a day just walking around the outside of the building.  Just like many buildings in Doha, incredible architecture.  Multi-layered.  Reminded me of a Dr. Seuss book but in an incredibly subtle and balanced way.

The Importance of Architecture
At its roots, architecture exists to create the physical environment in which people live, but architecture is more than just the built environment, it’s also a part of our culture. It stands as a representation of how we see ourselves, as well as how we see the world.

All of this.. before we even enter the museum.  Due to a significant amount of construction going on around the city and at the museum, we were told that a fairly large part of the museum was closed.  We debated going in but then thought that as long as we were there we might as well see what we could see.  I am so glad we did.  From the moment we entered the museum, the mood was set. Music, lighting, audio and visual effects, that set the stage for an emotional journey.  Surprising as this was not my heritage or my country.  The setting was alive and vibrant in every area we entered.  Starting with this stark video image (mixed with many others) on the first wall.

“The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter – often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter – in the eye.” – Charlotte Bronte

“Where words are restrained, the eyes often talk a great deal.” – Samuel Richardson

“The eyes shout what the lips fear to say.” – William Henry

“When a woman is talking to you, listen to what she says with her eyes.” – Victor Hugo

Anyways – So many quotes about eyes.  But there was so much more to see.  There was a movie playing in one area that I wanted to just sit and watch. Only music, no words, but the size of the screen and the images presented so clearly told a story that words were unnecessary.  At the end of the museum as we were about to leave, we were invited to visit the “special” room that consisted of glass beads and sculptures hanging from the ceiling that changed colors based on the music being played.

There were so many other installations within the gallery that included a children’s section that we took over and completely enjoyed, old cars, old phones, clothing and jewels from different eras, and interviews from the people associated with creating and building Doha.  Absolutely amazing and enlightening.  A must stop and see if you ever make it to Doha, Qatar.  So many more pictures but really, I’m going to let you discover this when you take the plunge and travel here.

In every country and region, there are practices and ways of living and culture that have been handed down from ancestors. Naturally, I feel that these should be respected. Shinzo Abe

Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures. Cesar Chavez

Without culture, and the relative freedom it implies, society, even when perfect, is but a jungle. This is why any authentic creation is a gift to the future. Albert Camus

Diverse cultures: Understanding Culture; Disdain for Culture and the road to Fascism;The Value of Acceptance: Saying ‘Yes to Life: In Spite of Everything’; Around the world in 182 days: Namibia; Is it hard to make friends in a new country?; Lessons from Taoism: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times; Five Life-Changing Gifts of Travel; Tote Bag and Other Thoughts;  Give Peace a Chance;The Greatest Invention: A History of the World in Nine Mysterious Scripts; Acceptance;  A Guide to Belgium’s Customs & Culture

Day 15 ~ please support local businesses

I bought a duplex a few years ago to help my kids out during their trying and growing times.  They have diligently paid their rent up to April 2020.  They are both studying online and working in the service industry in various roles.  What this means to me is I am carrying the weight of the mortgage now.  The mortgage, the city utilities, and randomly sending them items to keep them comfortable and going.

I am blessed because I am still employed, but this extra cost is still a struggle.  They are blessed because I bought the duplex for just such an occasion.  Never, ever expecting such an occasion. I know I am blessed and do not take it for granted.  They know they are blessed and do not take it for granted.  We are lucky.  Not everyone is so lucky.

I watch the news and see families getting evicted from their homes because they cannot work.  There is no safety net for these folks.  I hear people bastardizing landlords for evicting people who can not pay their rent.  That’s not fair.  The average landlord (like myself) is not rich.  The average landlord did not spend their life savings to purchase a house to keep random folks afloat.  COVID is not the landlord’s fault.  COVID is not the renter’s fault.  We are all caught up in a horrible situation.  There is no safety net for these folks.

The average person out there has no safety net.  I hear blame going around.  “Well they should have saved more money for an emergency.”; “Landlords are beasts and should not evict their tenants.”; “Tenants should not take advantage of their landlords.”; “Why do so many people need to get free food?”.  The questions and the blame keeps on escalating because this is an unexpected and never-ending situation.  There is no safety net.  All we seem to have are political figures who have A LOT of money (not their fault) holding back for political reasons in providing even a small safety net for the people who are really trying to stay afloat.  Really good people who are really trying hard to just stay afloat.

I really empathize with these folks.  There was a time, not so long ago, that as a single parent who was trying to put myself through university and only living on about $7,200 – $17,000 annual income for close to 15 years. I also had no safety net. My house was robbed 2x in six months and I was advised to move from that neighborhood.  I had no safety net and had no way of moving.  I had 2 small children and ironically had nothing really worth stealing. Blaming others for their situation is so unfair.  I luckily and eventually moved away from that situation but it took over 15 years. I cannot imagine how it would have been had COVID occurred on top of everything else going on in my life.  I would have drowned.  It wasn’t that I wasn’t trying. I just had ZERO anything set aside for an emergency.  I CANNOT IMAGINE.

So I encourage others to not pass blame or judgment on folks standing in food lines, evicting others to save themselves, losing their homes and needing more help.  Becoming homeless, hopeless, and helpless.  Where ever you are .. whatever you are doing .. give something.  Even if it’s just a smile or some form of recognition for the struggle that folks are feeling and going through. Give people some dignity.  There is no safety net out there and sometimes it’s no one’s fault.  Sometimes it is (VOTE VOTE VOTE)!

I am blessed and it’s tough for me.  I don’t have a lot extra to give and living in Africa right now, it’s tough to support my local businesses.  I want to emphasize that supporting local businesses during these trying times is so important.

My current favorite is a local artist from Spokane, Washington.  I have received a specially drawn Christmas card for nearly the past10-15 years.  He just put these cards on ETSY and I think you all should check them out.  I have also purchased some of his bigger art pieces (below).  I am a fan of Dali and Dr. Seuss so you can see why I’m a fan of Billy.

One thing I really like about his work is if you look closely at the art and the cards, you will see that he has some reoccurring characters.  The art represents the people that have been in his life that currently are now permanently residing in his fantastical worlds.

I hope you enjoy.

pool party 2desert

My favorite cards

Even if you do not want to buy, stop by and comment on the newest cards.  If you love them.  I’m sure you can comment that you want a bigger print.  You can visit his ETSY site here:  THELOUNGEGALLERY


I started this post in 2016… life had been very “unstill” at that time.  It is more still these days.. and yet with the government shutdown.. less still internally with the insecurity of what is going to happen to myself and others who have no idea when the government will open back up.  Waking up in a panic wondering if I still have a job..though once the cobwebs of sleep clear.. knowing that I do.. but wondering how we got to this point and when it will end.

So with time on my hands.. restless and yet so still… I thought this would be a good reminder to get back on the move with becoming more still… and patient… deep breath..let’s go.


Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen – that stillness becomes a radiance.   ~~~~~Morgan Freeman

Thanks for visiting.

Further posts on stillness or serenity

Aishwarya, Dailypost, Wanderlust, Deetravel, Another Voice, pixiedust, emptythoughts, lifeaccordingto, memoirsof, doris, jardin, joan, momma

I am woman.. hear me…



As. you. are.
Stronger than you know.
More beautiful than you think.
Worthier than you believe.
More loved than you can ever imagine.
Passionate about making a difference.
Fiery when protecting those you love.
Learning. Growing. Not alone.
Warm. Giving. Generous.
Quirky. Sexy. Funny. Smart.
Flawed. Whole. Scared. Brave.
And so, so, so.much.more.

Be Strong. Be Confident. Be You. ~ Copyright: Tia Sparkles Singh, 2011

I have been living and working in Lagos, Nigeria now for 18 months.  One of my favorite things about this country is how vibrant and strong the people are.  Specifically the women.  Talk about inspiring folks.  Every day there is a new surprise that faces me down.  In celebration of International Women’s Day 2017, my friend and I visited the Nike Centre for Art and Culture.

Every time I visit this gallery I find about 200 pieces I would love to buy.  The work covers everything from photography, to bead work, statutes of wood and metal, oils, fabrics, and really just everything you can imagine.  Well, this installation was possibly my favorite as it covered all of the artistic genres mentioned with a focus on the strong women who create the work.

What I love even more is the owner of the gallery.  Nike Davies-Okundaye – Nike Davies-Okundaye a.k.a. “‘Nike Davies'” a.k.a. “‘Nike Twin Seven Seven'” a.k.a. “‘Nike Olaniyi'” a.k.a. “‘Mummy Nike'”  – Wikipedia

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 6.15.22 PM

Talk about a strong woman.  I. LOVE. HER.  She is Nigerian.  She is strong. She is intelligent. She is kind.  She is an art piece all by herself.  What an amazing person.  So generous with her time and her ability to explain every piece of art in her gallery.  If you make it to Lagos, Nigeria and do not stop in to her gallery, you are missing a treat!!

The art presented that was specifically on display for Women’s Day was spectacular.  Created by women about women.  I did not take enough photos to really give it due respect.

My favorite pieces were so amazing!! They were huge though.  If I only had a place big enough to house them.

All of the other work was equally impressive and to be fair, there were many more “favorites”.  Even the work not specifically on display for Women’s Day, had a flair that I could not stop going back to.

For more Nigerian artwork that focuses on the Nigerian woman’s perspective, this book would be an excellent choice to get started.  I hope you enjoyed the tour!


Travel theme: Woman

Other woman links:

Woman! Women of Cuba A daily stroll through Bucharest ; Roaming Urban Gypsy2017/03/12/athlete/Woman | Ladyleemanila;