In June 2015 I discovered, almost by chance, the place that would receive us as a family, for almost 2,5 years in London. It was very challenging to move to London and to join a Masters in a conservatoire. Living at Nansen Village was the support we all needed as a family.
Nansen Village was created by Kurt Weinberg, a man with a vision that I deeply admire.
We want to share with you a text that explains how a couple of Nazi Germany refugees setup an amazing 50 year old project:
The Nansen Village community both here in Finchley and spread all over the world, is thinking with sadness and gratitude of our founder Kurt Weinberg, who has died aged 93.
Kurt came to this country in 1939 as a Kindertransport refugee from Nazi Germany as a teenager. He, along with many other Jewish children, was welcomed and educated here.
Nansen Village Founder and Philanthropist
KURT W. WEINBERG 23 JULY 1924– 9 JANUARY 2018
UNIQUE MAN, UNIQUE VISION
Kurt showed his enterprising spirit early on. As a school boy he organised the collection of paper salvage all around the countryside in Cornwall where his school was evacuated during the war.
He decided not to go to University, though more than capable, his family did not have the means at the time. After working in a radio factory he set up his own business importing Dutch cigars. His family in Germany had been in the cigar business so he felt well able to take this up. Of course, being the man he was, full of determination, this was successful. All of you who know him are aware of his tremendous tenacity. When Kurt decided something would happen he made sure it did!
Kurt was blessed with a long and happy marriage to Charlotte also a refugee from Nazi Germany.
Having established their family home with their four daughters, Kurt and Charlotte started exploring ways in which others could benefit from the sort of welcome they had received as young refugees. They were advised that students from overseas, particularly couples and families found it very difficult to afford London rental rates.
This gave them the idea for the great initiative that is Nansen Village. They wanted to find a way to bring together people from different backgrounds and beliefs so that they could gain an understanding of each other. Together with a group of friends they formed the Woodside Project and began fundraising. Kurt approached a number of bodies for support and the family also raised money through stalls at local events. Eventually enough had been gathered and promised for a site to be found and plans were drawn up. Kurt was the main mover in this. He found the Woodside Park site and appointed the architect, with whom he worked closely.
The first tenants moved in in1970, and since then 1739 families have experienced life in the Village, with the chance to meet others from around the world and studying many different subjects and attending different Universities.
Kurt was the Chairman of the Project and remained so for many years. Even when he gave up the position he was always fully involved in the running of the Village, until ill-health overtook him in recent years. He and Charlotte were constant visitors to the Village, knew all the tenants and helped to support them. They made many long-lasting friendships and were able to visit ex-tenants in many parts of the world in their travels.
None of this would have happened without the tenacious and determined character of the amazing, impressive man Kurt Weinberg. So many people are thankful for the chance to live in a secure and supportive home in London, which leaves them with memories they hold dear forever.
Also those of us connected to Nansen Village in other ways have immense respect and affection for him.
Nansen Village is a memorial to Kurt and his vision, and all of us are committed to ensuring its continued success.
We love to be together during our free time and that can be very rare, especially here in London…
So, how to have brilliant vacations with a pregnant lady and toddler, when you have only 2 or 3 days to do everything you dreamt to do during the year
Here are 3 GOLDEN tips for anyone who wants to have perfect holidays in just 2 days:
1. Accommodation – try to find a place to stay not so far from the centre and the places that you are planing to visit. This is very important for when you have extra bags (wet clothes, nap time stuff, food or that VERY important toy that your toddler left and you just must go back and pick it) then you can easily go and come back. For example if you spent all morning in the beach and you see that your toddler is tired and needs to have a break, you just go back to your accommodation and come back in the afternoon without spending much time on travels.
2. Priorities!!! What is more important: to stay at home and let your toddler rest so he is calm at dinner time or to see all old town?? When you have only 2 or 3 days you need to be ready not to see all places that you normally would. We are three in our family (ok, one more coming soon but still calm on his/her choices ) so we picked 3 places, one for each of us, to make everyone happy. Beach, contemporary gallery and grotto of shells: and it was completely enough for us to fill all three days because besides all these, Markus needed to have naps and we needed to have time for dinners and etc. So, be realistic and do not push all family to see all touristic things in a new city !!!!
3. Relax!!! Even if things don’t go as you want or the weather is terrible, do remember that you are all together and it’s your long-awaited HOLIDAYS so please just enjoy the family time because that’s what’s most important !!!
That is it!
If you do that I am pretty sure you will have best vacations in the year!
It’s midsummer and we are checking our achievements:
Challenge London: completed with success – for all of us it was a big provocation, and each of us took great responsibility and risk to fulfil their part.
Challenge Baby Number 2: as it was with London – difficult beginning of pregnancy, second part came with much calmer moods and the big pleasure to be in the presence of new life coming to this crazy world.
Challenge 3: Toddler Upbringing: hmmm – I think we can’t call it an achievement because it is an ongoing process, a never ending story
HERE we stop for a minute…
We had “sleep/eat/poop” period, “I want to stand up but I can’t” period, “not eating” period, etc. And each time I was thinking “that is hardest period in my whole life!!”
No, it s not. And still ain’t now… because with each year of life with Markus we learn more and more, and things becomes more complex and more tricky and involve more conversations and more things to discuss..
It’s much easier to sleep only 2 hours per day or wash nappies like crazy (oh yes, at that moment it does look like I CAN NOT DO IT ANYMORE) but when it comes “Mom, when I will die? Could you show me the date on calendar?”, then all the world stops and I feel like my tears are concentrating and getting ready to run down!
YES! I can change nappies, as much as you need!! But it’s really difficult to listen and not to cry when I listen “You are getting old, so you will die. When you will die I will lay next to you”.
So, now we do have an existential period where we discover how people are born birth, from spermatozoid to fertilised egg, from cell until the moment the baby is pushed out into the world (YOUTUBE videos are really helpful stuff ). How we grow, how our body changes and get more hairy and for what is used testicles. How we die and where the body disappears to, here comes “I don’t want you to die mum!” stuff and etc.
So after the training about human body I can easily answer to “Why don’t we fall of from the earth if it s round?” I can speak and speak about it and change nappies but please no more questions about When I will die !!
In my country food is something to feed your belly with and that’s all! I would skip my breakfast in trade of longer sleep, eat fast lunch on the way or eat before the bed because I would be starving… I would eat at any time, whatever and however is available at the moment not to feel hunger
But one day I moved to a country where food is at the centre of the day… where culture of the food is vital.
It took me 6 months… what am I saying?! I am still struggling with accepting it and losing patience when I need to spend 5-7 hours on the table,,,
But it was in Portugal where I started my food journey and now when I have fussy eater toddler and being a fussy pregnant forces me to search, question and care about food.
So we said hello to flexitarianism and I think we will stick to in for some time or even for the rest of our life as family
p.s. yes, some people would say that flexitarianism is like vegetarianism just cheating but I don’t agree because all vegetarians that I know use medicine and vaccines that are based on trials with animal or even have part of animals. So let’s be fair and admit that even meat eater can be an environmentalist
To be honest I don’t care about gorillas in south america or dogs in asian counties but I concern about my son’s life in future and environment that will be around him. So if I care about him then automatically I care about chickens and dogs and whales and politics and all that mess that’s around us…
Oops… let’s go back to food my dear responsible consumers!
From now on our family will ban SUGAR and PALM OIL.
Why? make your own research! I did mine and after family meeting we agreed that from now on we will try to learn more about stevia and make more home-made biscuits!
When I was pregnant I read an article about how the child is attached to the mother, and how incredibly important she is for him. When they reach 3 years old then the mother’s significance starts reducing and the father’s increasing. At that time i didn’t care much about it, but now… some weeks ago I remembered it again.
It is true!!!
On January Markus turned 3 years old and guess what? Last weeks I noticed how he is creating a distance between me and him. It’s not bad! It feels so natural for him to go and look for other experiences instead of time with the mother. And I love to see how the father’s role is increasing and the friendships he is creating with his mates from school.
So, the mother’s monarchy is finishing and I’m so happy that I could spend time with him and respect his natural progressions like when he was ready to said no for breastfeeding, and to find a school on the right time.
And now I think its time to start to think about myself and my development as an artist or to start thinking about increasing the number of members of our family!!!
I am so exited to write this post because I know that now a new chapter is starting for me and for Markus as an individual!
It has been the longest Christmas that we ever had!… Last week we had family visits in Porto so our Christmas mood started there and all those decorations on the street, it looked like Christmas was coming, almost coming, almost, but still not here 😉
Anyway we would love to share some ginger cookies and christmas
tree lights with you all!
And also our typical Christmas postcard/video that you can see here!
Children and museums! Is it a good match or just lost time and tantrums?
I think it depends on some circumstances… like age, expectations and you time management ways.
For example our family contains ages from 2 to 35 so we try to find museums in which each of us can find something interesting. And be aware that it’s very possible that we will need an extra trip to see all the museum or even to make more 3 visits until all of us are happy that we have seen everything we wanted
Managing when is the right time to go to the museum – when there is less people, between naps, etc. Managing when is the right time to go out! You must count that some energy must be left for the travel because you won”t want to stay overnight in the museum! So it is important to leave the space when the youngest family member still has energy to reach home without being on the limit of a “meltdown”.
First thing what we do when we enter the space it s to find a map (sometimes we check it on internet before leaving home) and decide what exactly we want to see, what are our priorities and what can be left “to see later”. Then we try to stick to that and that makes our visit much more smooth and relax.