Author: petra hilgers

cross-cultural conversations

relationships

white EU migrant woman & black Caribbean British Canadian man ‘What is I beheld?’ ‘Past tense from I behold.’ ‘But what’s that in non-Shakespearean-English?’ ‘It’s real English. It’s like (pauses) I behold that tree’ (gestures with his arm somewhere outside) ‘Like I see that tree?’ ‘Like Fuck! Check this tree out!’ Behold that man.

Un-Frightening

Travelling / Uncategorized

I wish I could start writing about Brussels all over again. I wonder whether I’d still have to explain that it was actually Mechelen we went to and never Brussels though we did have a golden afternoon in Brussels that ended on a high look-out – the city, framed by dirty baby-boy blue with pink stains in it, to our feet. Ashen but ready to rise as we walked back down into it. Also, I […]

honouring a place of dark

Stories / Tower Blocks / Uncategorized

black eye now that wall I remembered a face of a young woman chiselled out of plaster revealing a matrix of red bricks tearing her out wind tearing her hair apart another wall in another city same not-quite white wall large black eye traced with carbon paper like mascara smudged down a cheek white wet puffy what happened before carelessness played havoc carelessness played played played don’t play with fire we all blamed the girl […]

lost things…

Stories / Unexpected

Something has shifted. It began recently on a Sunday in September when I woke up from thoughts of doubt and betrayal, feeling perfectly uneasy, first, then angry which was almost a relief. Since then things kept changing. Every new day another leaf fallen, the tree a bit barer, the light a degree warmer, the air a degree cooler, the atmosphere a degree clearer and my thoughts, too, sometimes at least. Yesterday, I forgot my scarf […]

space

relationships / Unexpected

A friend has offered me her space on the Sussex coast while she and her partner are travelling. A space with a cabin and a caravan, chicken and greenhouses, fruit trees and wood pigeons, a kitchen and WiFi. A space to escape from a hectic summer with a few blows – the shock of Brexit, the discomfort of a back injury, the uncertainties of my relationship that’s now come to a sudden full-stop in mid-air. […]

an offering…

Portrait / Travelling

… of a poem that I wrote during my week in Scotland recently… my mother thinks my life is a going-round-in-circles barefeet on grass after a snowstorm I don’t feel the cold follow the bends the steps of the many before me between old stones worn smooth from pressure, friction and distance then brought up here by determined hands I imagine them large in the centre I find a stone with thin waves of sediments laid […]

pilgrimage

Travelling / writing about blogging and blogging about writing

Not migration this time… In April I’ve travelled to a Creative Writing Retreat where we were invited to write a 100-word journal every morning. I’ve now followed the urge to re-read mine and found myself threading together bits of stories like those stones I found on a beach one day. Nowhere near as orderly… Two days of travel from London to the Isle of Iona: 3 trains, 2 ferries, 1 bus. Then 2 feet underneath the weight […]

vision

Home / Nature

  vision no wonder it looks exotic to me still in it’s full spring garb: it’s a migrant from southeastern United States also a little ancient miracle as it appeared before the bees and made it – thanks to a curious beetle – into our times and my garden where this year another miracle transpired when El Niño teased her flowers out in mid January then the belated winter kept them intact for over two […]

mornington bear

Mornington Bear / Portrait

mornington bear i first met him outside our house at 08:12 on Monday morning perched on a wee little chair like mornington king i was late for a safeguarding training we met again 5 days later he was sitting in a dark corner of No 13 i let him into the sunlit conservatory where he studied old collectors books on Sunday morning he begged me to run him a bath – he had a proper splash kept singing […]

on language & finding home

Travelling

“Die Suche nach einer bewohnbaren Sprache in einem bewohnbaren Land”* The last time I travelled back from Germany to London – my Wahlheimat (which my dictionary translates with ‘adopted home’ but that doesn’t really convey that sense of warmth, choice and voluntariness of the German phrase) – was in late November, just over a week after the devastating attacks in Paris. I travelled with my friend Katharine; we had to change trains in Stuttgart and […]

tipping point

Bow / London / Nature

out on the cemetery daffodils burst into yellow in early December in time for the Climate Talks tipping point is when the order of things becomes inevitable the laws of gravity superseding common sense when a tipper lorry has slowly gained so much momentum that stopping is impossible even for the unexpected cyclist appearing on the obscure under-path when outside the cemetery gate a 15-year old Bengali boy squares up to two young men who […]

Encounters

Stories / Travelling

Two things came together like two rivers that merge, becoming one. Both things have a somewhat blurry start somewhere way back like those rivers that must have been streams before, and before that little trickles, and a breaking out of the underground at some distant beginning. One of the things was prompted by my friend who I first met when we both returned from having lived abroad – Madagascar in her case, Uganda in mine […]

about nail polish, the anxiety of being in the way and experimenting with new liberties

Unexpected

The other day I found myself ticking the box ‘do you consider yourself part of a minority‘ and was a bit shocked myself about that. Yes, for some time now I’ve been feeling increasingly aware of my status as an EU citizen – or ‘migrant’ as it’s now often referred to . And of course it’s far more complicated than the simplicity of a perfectly square tick-box suggests: for once, nobody among my friends in […]