SYNCHROBLOG: I Am From

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Today is Heritage Day in South Africa. Prompted by one of our South African sistafriends, Aliyah, we wanted to honour this day and celebrate right along by creating a synchroblog and inviting you to link up with your own “I am From” post here. There are three of us sharing here today and we look forward to getting to know you better through your posts. Here’s a really fun template we’re using, based on the poem by George Ella Lyon. Download the PDF here: I-AM-FROM-template

I-AM-FROM_8001-100Just recently, I facilitated a session at The Journey, a three-day retreat for women from Vancouver’s inner city, also known as the Downtown Eastside, at Linwood House. I loved being with the women and the writing was so raw and beautiful. I asked Phoenix, with her soft sheepskin slippers and long braid, if she would please send me any of her writing. So she did and I am thrilled that she’s leading us out with her post today.

I Am From
By Phoenix

Phoenix__800
I am from
Glasgow, the land of friendly people and gorgeous
pink-tinged sunsets.
I’m from chocolate-covered ginger and hot caper pickles,
sauerkraut and coconut butter and German smelly cheese.

I am from
beatings and fly swatters and silent screams
I am from piles of ground beef curry and chicken so gristly
we’d hide it in our hands and toss it into the garbage
with
our backs turned.

I am from
us suffering like Jesus with our backs raw from beating
I am from
the German “w”s being pronounced “v”
like Vinter

I am from
frostbite and snow tunnels and longing to play
I am from
maples and oaks and backyard tomatoes

From
Mrs. McKinnon and shillings in the electrical meter
From
Scotland and Goa and Germany and Portugal
and other jumbles of nationalities

I am from
Sundays in church with little girl ribbons
I am from
baseball bats hidden in the trunk of my father’s car

I am now from
shared pain in the streets of the Downtown Eastside.

About Phoenix:

Cheers, I’m Phoenix and I’m grateful to the wonderful people who cross my path in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. They have helped me when I’ve been crazy, homeless, or just fine. My son who lives far away is also a huge source of inspiration.

2-100In May, Claire and I facilitated a three-day Writer’s Track at Amahoro Africa and we asked participants to write their own “I am From” pieces. This is where much of this started.

I Am From
by Claire DeBoer

Claire-heritageI am from four walls
From pictures that became windows
Into a life longed for, a life far away.

I am from unspoken words beneath higher screams of despair
I am from solemn silence, empty tables and liver on Thursdays
From dungarees, bowl haircuts and the pungent country smells of farmland

I am from song without laughter
From a journey without a roadmap
From chocolate under my pillow
From “chill out” and “calm down”

I am from Bronte and Lloyd Webber
Piano and dance
From “who am I now?”
To “who will I be next?”

I am from water and mountains
Privilege and blessings
Love, protection, gentle whispers to my soul
I am from God.

3-100At the beginning of the month, I promised I would share some more of my story. So, here we go!

I Am From
By Idelette McVicker

Heritage_Idelette-800I am from small
I am from white
I am from tight.

I am from milktart and buckets of ginger beer fermenting on the back cement stoep
I am from bobotie with yellow rice, Mrs. Ball’s chutney and stewed apricots.
I am from, Ag nee, Idelette!
And watching the boys play rugby on Saturday mornings.

I am from a double-storey white house on 15 Christelle Street and a Geralton wax flower in the front yard.
I am from a swimming pool and too many lonely days in my room.

I am from a yellow formica table, silent meals and drying dishes.
I am from pannekoek with cinnamon sugar when the first rains of winter came.
I am from Wielie-Wielie-Walie and “We are the Scatterlings of Africa.”

I am from a mustard-yellow school uniform and Bata Toughees with white socks.
I am from homemade apricot jam with cheese on my toast and milky rooibos tea for breakfast.
I am from reading under a blanket and eating Niknaks in a bowl.

I am from Apartheid.
I am from evil.

I am from watching Buck Rogers in the TV room on a Saturday night
And going to church every Sunday morning.

I am from small and white and tight.

But I am also from Large
And fierce
And revolutionary.

I am from loud singing voices
And angry shouting fists.

I am from bold colours and even bolder prints.
I am from feet that dance and wild waves that crash on untamed rocks.
I am from the southernmost tip of the African continent

I am from lions and jazz and biltong.

I am from Fear,
A Long Walk to Freedom
and the Cape of Good Hope.

I am from Ida Gertruida van Papendorp
And three generations of Ida.
I am from a Ma who sat at her Singer sewing machine, creating my designs
until long after I went to bed.

I am from Love.

I am from finding Jesus in a circle
Then losing him in a stiff church.
Then finding him again amidst the temples and noise
And stinky tofu carts on the corner of Chung Shan N. Road Sec. 6.

I am from history and injustice
And from finding myself on a stairwell, broken and beaten, knowing right then: This is not ok.
Not for me, not for any woman.

I am from three children, an old puppy and a husband who loves to have fun.
I am from Africa and Taipei, the suburbs and a minivan
I am from a new story.

________________________

We can’t wait to read your posts and learn where YOU are from. We’ll choose a few of our favourite lines from your link-ups to add to the zine at the end of the month, so be sure to link your posts up asap. We can’t wait!

Happy Heritage Day!

much Love,
xoxo

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Idelette McVicker
I like soggy cereal and I would like to go to every spot on the map of the earth to meet our world’s women. I dream of a world where no women or girls are for sale. I dream of a world where women and men are partners in doing the work that brings down a new Heaven on earth. My word last year was “roar” and I learned it’s not about my voice rising as much as it is about our collective voices rising in unison to bring down walls of injustice. This year, my own word is “soar.” I have three children and this place–right here, called shelovesmagazine.com–is my fourth baby. I am African, although my skin colour doesn’t tell you that story. I am also a little bit Chinese, because my heart lives there amongst the tall skyscrapers of Taipei and the mountains of Chiufen. Give me sweet chai and I think I’m in heaven. I live in Vancouver, Canada and I pledged my heart to Scott 11 years ago. I believe in kindness and calling out the song in each other’s hearts. I also believe that Love covers–my gaps, my mistakes and the distances between us. I blog at idelette.com and tweet @idelette.
Idelette McVicker

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Idelette McVicker

Comments

  1. I am really enjoying these. There are a lot of differences – but so many similarities. And each has its own flavor. So fun to participate!

  2. Saskia Wishart says:

    Finally got around to adding my own I Am From piece.

    Love this, and love getting to know so many though their link-up’s

    Xx

  3. Susan Schiller says:

    I look forward to returning and reading more – how fun! Thank you 🙂

  4. Susan Dunlap says:

    Go Girls! May the stories keep pouring in!

  5. Sarah Heroman says:

    What a wonderful way to connect. And what a wonderful exercise that was for me. Thank you.

  6. I was just back, visiting some of the other linked posts and realized there was a template… that I didn’t use. Sorry to be a rebel poster, I Am From-ing my own thing! 🙂

  7. Thank you for hosting this Idelette. I knew immediately that I wanted to participate. What a haunting and poignant prompt to celebrate heritage and history and all the things that build us into the messy beauty that we are now. Love.

    • Thank you for linking up, Adriel! I loved reading your post and I feel like I got a glimpse into your very big story. Amazing! Kinda sad you’re very far, because a cup of tea together would be so lovely.

  8. My tech knowledge and my support team isn’t home so I’ll try to post here instead 😉

    I am from 12 military kitchens with no counter space and poor lighting.
    Now I am from warm wood and bright morning sun.
    I am from coffee brewing and soup bubbling and bacon frying and oatmeal and grapefruit .
    I am from lavender and ferns and cardinals and goldfinch.
    I am from classical music and worship songs that are always playing in my head.
    I am from reading while sitting in the pine tree or under a blanket with a flashlight, hiding from my father .
    I am from the 60’s: a daughter without a voice, a military wife without a voice.

    I am from anxiety and agoraphobia to freedom in Christ with a voice.
    I am from Pennsylvania with watermelon and corn on the cob and corn starch pudding and a home cooked meal every night.
    I am from Florida, and Ohio and Illinois and Arizona and New Jersey.
    I am from my Nana, with her strong will struggling to be a woman of my times.
    I am from giggly grandchildren every Friday night and tears and kisses and books in bed and prayers.
    I am a conglomerate of women I’ve met all over the world.

  9. Love this prompt, love the template, love this beautiful community that celebrates heritage 🙂

  10. Thanks Idelette…made myself cry writing it =) though it doesn’t take much to make me cry!

  11. Jody-Anna says:

    I am from my warm sunny kitchen,
    The cool decking breeze and the overloaded woodburner pumping out so much heat the living room door is flung open wide.
    I am from my immediate family, the noise, the chaos, the brief glimpses of peace.
    I am from the earth, the garden dew captured on the spiders web and the crisp frosted grass crackling under my feet.
    I am from a long line of overbearing mothers and over decorated Christmas trees.
    I am from interruptions and loud enthusiasm.
    I’m from Love and committment and a mantra of “if you are bored I can find you a job…”
    I am from Bristol and Leeds, lemon sugared pancakes And fish and chips by the seaside.
    I’m I’m my Mother and Grandmother, fractured relationships and conflict avoidance techniques.
    I’m from a woman of determination, box of 30 year old soft toys kept in an attic.
    I’m from a supportive husband, sleeping children.
    I’m treasured by God

    • Jody-Anna, wow! Thank you so much for sharing your “i am from!”

      I am totally picturing this: “I am from a long line of overbearing mothers and over decorated Christmas trees.”

      And I had to laugh: “if you are bored I can find you a job …” I’ve heard that one!

      And I love this: “I am from a woman of determination …”

      Wonderful and beautiful.
      Thank you!

  12. Thanks, Idelette, for giving us the chance to know one another…

  13. You guys always come up with the best synchroblogs. Thanks for always challenging me to think outside the box and write from the deepest parts of my heart. Much appreciated! 🙂

  14. That was great fun! Thanks so much for the inspiration. I enjoyed that.

  15. I love this. I use it in spiritual direction occasionally. It’s so powerful. I’m looking forward to writing mine.

  16. fiona lynne says:

    This brings back good memories. x

  17. Susan Dunlap says:

    OK, #20 is fine. Please delete #15; link is wrong. Thanks. Newbie on board!

  18. Susan Dunlap says:

    oops I attached it wrong the first time. #15 should be replaced with the update, Please!

  19. Hey Idalette….. I just loved what you shared, it’s so easy to relate when we understand this culture. Thanks for sharing! big hugs!

  20. LOVE. I wrote another one at Amahoro but I first used the prompt a couple of years ago so I’m linking to that one today. These are so lovely and powerful. Really cut to the core, you know?

  21. WOW. these are hard and good and beautiful.

Trackbacks

  1. […] I thought this would be a perfect time to sit down and finally write mine. Luckily there are templates to make the process easier for non-writers like me. So, here it […]

  2. […] for this post came from one of my favourite blogs, She Loves Magazine, and their celebration of […]

  3. […] August, I got to do the “I am From” exercise with a group of women from Vancouver’s inner city—many of whom had struggled with homelessness, […]

  4. […] man) which consistently challenges, encourages and encircles me. This month, SheLoves is doing a synchroblog using the same prompt, which is adapted from a poem by George Ella Lyon. Even though I usually […]

  5. […] If you like this one, you’ll love all of the “I am from poems” […]

  6. […] to a poem, which is also a love letter to my personal history. I wrote the poem for a prompt at SheLoves Magazine. By the magic of linkage, everything is linked out from here and back to […]

  7. […] I blog to say something, but every so often I blog just because. This is a synchroblog with SheLoves and it’s just because. I’ve been wanting to do one of these for ages but it’s never been the right time. […]

  8. […] If you like this one, you’ll love all of the “I am from poems” […]

  9. […] is part of the SheLoves synchroblog “I Am From”.   Jump in with your own […]

  10. […] I am from country towns, from main streets lined with shops and restaurants, from neighbours who chat over fences, share a cup of tea and the odd cup of rice.   I am from riding bicycles down dirt roads, from carrying butterfly nets and glass bottles to keep our collections in, a sandwich and drink in the basket on the handlebars.   I am from family drives out to the river on hot summer afternoons, from plunging into the crystal clear, cold depths, from feeling rounded pebbles under my feet, from smelling wet bark of river trees and freshness of river moss.   I am from visiting farms, chasing sheep around paddocks, bouncing over hills in land-rovers, hunting kittens in barns, milking cows in the dairy, and eating huge homemade scones with lashings of jam and cream.   I am from walking to school in all seasons, loving the crunch of frost underfoot, and the crunch of green mountain apple in my mouth. I am from the chance to see that handsome boy turning to look from the school bus as it rumbles by. I am from the city, from the happy cul-de-sac where children play hopscotch in the street, rounders in the front yards and watch ‘Rin Tin Tin’ and ‘Superman’ on each other’s televisions.   I am from Christ-is-the-centre-of-our-home, from church every Sunday, from Sunday School anniversaries wearing new outfits made by Grandma, from Church picnics and camps.   I am from ‘integrity is everything’, from ‘always speak the truth’, from ‘be faithful in all things’ and from ‘family comes first’.   I am from Family Christmas lunches with coins in the Christmas pudding, once-a-year roast chicken and laughs a-plenty. I am from school days of challenges, canes and rote learning, and from fresh lunches bought at the tuck-shop on our birthdays. I am from freedom and fun at Teachers’ College.    I am from the Jesus Movement, from coffee shop outreaches, guitars and Bibles in the parks and on campus, Keith Green music and unstoppable passion to see the world saved for Jesus. I am from coastal towns, from sandy beaches and surf, tropical islands and yachts and aquamarine waters.    I am from barbeques, from songs around campfires, from ‘she’ll be right mate’, ‘stone the crows!’, ‘sheilas and blokes’, freedom and opportunity. I am from the Land Downunder. I am from passion for family history.   I am from two grandfathers who fought in world wars, and from two parents who never fought. I am from loved, and valued, and respected. I am from 38 years marriage, with one amazing husband, two fabulous children and five perfect grandchildren.   I am from teaching in classrooms, and from pastoring in churches.   I am from making mistakes and from gaining wisdom, from messing up and from finding grace.    I am from devastation. I am from restoration.   I am from never-give-up, from life-is-a-journey, from loved-filled-destiny.   I am from depositing into future generations. I am from my Father’s heart.       Connecting with other writers around the world for “I Am From” stories: http://shelovesmagazine.com/2013/synchroblog-i-am-from/ […]

  11. […] I saw this over at Tanya’s blog and thought it was a brilliant idea. So I wanted to give it a go and link up with SheLoves Magazine in a “Heritage Day” celebration. […]

  12. […] something new here today as I link up with the synchroblog over at sheloves.com where we share our heritage […]

  13. […] For more beautiful pieces from the “I Am From” synchroblog, please visit SheLoves. (Image source from above is also […]

  14. […] Did you see how many link-ups are in our I Am From Synchroblog? […]

  15. […] ** This Post is Part of a Synchroblog from SheLovesMagazine […]

  16. […] of the I Am From synchro-blog at She Loves Magazine. You don’t have to be a writer, just follow the template […]

  17. […] Note: Today I’m linking up with a synchroblog at She Loves Magazine in honor of Heritage Day. You can read more about it here. […]

  18. […] a self-described “global community of women who love,” is currently doing a synchroblog which was so much fun that I had to break my blogger silence not with a usual post, as I had […]

  19. […] man) which consistently challenges, encourages and encircles me. This month, SheLoves is doing a synchroblog using the same prompt, which is adapted from a poem by George Ella Lyon. Even though I usually […]

  20. […] am from black and white, from a decade of grey, from creating life in full colour. Linking up with SheLoves today – it’s easy and fun, come tell us where you are […]

  21. […] am linking today with SheLoves Magazine‘s synchroblog, I Am From, in which women share their moving, painful and beautiful stories of place and identity. This post […]

  22. […] I am synchroblogging with SheLoves Magazine today with their series on “I am From.” You can read more or link up here. […]

  23. […] am in the middle of a few days of feeling completely wiped, but this synchroblog from She Loves magazine was too irresistible, so I have indulged in some gentle therapeutic writing, to give you an idea of […]

  24. […] into poetry, but I’ve always loved asking “why” and digging into roots. So this “I Am From” synchroblog from SheLoves (with template included!) was a perfect way to practice being a poet. I was so inspired by all the […]

  25. […] poet George Ella Lyon invites us to reflect on our roots in her poem “Where I’m From.” I want to paint my own image for the generations that come after […]

  26. […] writing prompt is courtesy of the I AM FROM Syncroblog at SheLovesMagazine.com. It is perhaps my favorite writing prompt ever … and I love the stories that have come from […]

  27. […] post is linked up to a synchroblog hosted by SheLoves Magazine as part of their “I am from” […]

  28. […] post is linked up to a synchroblog hosted by SheLoves Magazine as part of their “I am from” […]

  29. […] post is a part of SheLoves Magazine’s synchro blog entitled “I Am From”. You can read the other I Am From pieces, and submit your own […]

  30. I am from says:

    […] friend Esther Emery invited me (and you!!!) to write a poem based on this template from a synchroblog called She Loves […]

  31. […] Today I am linking up with the She Loves Magazine “I Am From” Synchroblog […]

  32. […] guys, this synchroblog, hosted by SheLoves Magazine, Is. So. Good. I could read them all day. And actually, you CAN read […]

  33. […] It seems like all I have time for these days is work and sleep, but I heard about SheLoves synchroblog in celebration of Heritage Day in South Africa. The original post is beautiful– you should check it out. […]

  34. […] [This is part of a link-up with SheLoves Magazine] […]

  35. […] post was inspired by seeing an idea for a synchroblog on SheLoves Magazine. I read the prompt and what ended up coming out was much different than what I’d first […]

  36. […] If you have a blog and want to participate then you can find Idelette’s template here and then link your post up here. […]

  37. […] as a free-flow exercise, part of the SheLoves SYNCHROBLOG: I Am From  Click on the link and come play along.  Leave a comment with a link to your own I Am From […]

  38. […] Heritage Day: “Synchroblog: I Am From” by SheLoves […]

  39. […] I’m linking up with SheLoves. Several others have written post along the same theme , you can check them out here. […]

  40. […] [written as part of the "I Am From" synchroblog with SheLoves magazine. read more (or find a template to write your own) here!] […]

  41. […] Today I am linking up with some lovely voices over at SheLoves Magazine. I hope you’ll read along, or even join! Find the other pieces (and the skeleton for this one) by clicking here. […]

  42. […] assignment, as I understood it, was to comb through the files of childhood memories—everyday, quotidian […]

  43. […] of the SheLoves synchroblog, “I Am From” – in honor of Heritage Day in South Africa on […]

  44. […] felt especially great at it, even though I’ve always loved to write. This post idea came from She Loves Magazine, which if you’ve been following me at all, you’ll know that I love. They very cleverly […]

  45. […] [ This is part of  http://shelovesmagazine.com/2013/synchroblog-i-am-from/ ] […]

  46. […] participating in the SheLoves Synchroblog today. The theme is heritage in recognition of South Africa’s Heritage Day. The idea was to […]

  47. […] am linking up here with SheLoves Magazine’s Where I’m From poems. The secret is that there’s a template, so you (like me) don’t have to be any […]

  48. […] I blog to say something, but every so often I blog just because. This is a synchroblog with SheLoves and it’s just because. I’ve been wanting to do one of these for ages but it’s never been the right time. […]

  49. […] at She Loves Magazine, they are doing a synchroblog.  I decided to give it a go and had a lot of fun.   Even if you don’t blog, I suggest you […]

  50. […] I’m From posts that sprout up every now and then. Right now, SheLoves Magazine is hosting a Where I’m From synchroblog. Some start with this template if you need a jumping […]

  51. […] joining a synchroblog at shelovesmagazine today, on the prompt: I am […]

  52. […] can read some great stories on SheLoves or download the template and tell your […]

  53. […] post is part of She Loves Magazine’s sychroblog celebrating Heritage Day in South Africa, a place that is near and dear to my heart. This was […]

  54. […] SheLoves Magazine is hosting a synchroblog link-up in honour of Heritage Day in South Africa today. Check them out here for more beautiful days-past […]

  55. […] I am linking up with SheLoves Magazine. I just love them, all of them, all of the time. I love their heart, their open arms, their vision […]

  56. […] {An I Am From Poem linked up on She Loves Magazine} […]

  57. I am from… says:

    […] She Loves is hosting a synchroblog on our monthly theme of Heritage, and we’re inviting you all to join in, with our prompt […]

  58. […] of the I Am From synchroblog at […]

  59. From…. says:

    […] part of a synchroblog at SheLoves Magazine […]

  60. […] Linking up with SheLoves for their I Am From synchroblog. […]

  61. […] as delight, from the wilderness nearby and the cold air in your lungs, oh, I’m from love.  part of the SheLoves synchroblog “I Am From” – come […]

  62. […] answer the question, “I am from,” where would you say you are from?  Linking up with SheLoves Magazine today – alas, I didn’t use the template, as instructed, simply because I didn’t […]

  63. […] Friends, this was prompted by SheLovesMagazine and their sychroblog today for the question? Where am I from…There’s a .pdf template you may download there to write your own discovery of history. Do […]

  64. […] is national Heritage Day here! Shelovesmagazine is celebrating by collectively writing about heritage. Download the template here and publish all […]

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