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Archive for the ‘celebrating others’ Category

I’m sure some of you heard about the #CivilmarchforAleppo  but in case you didn’t, here’s what’s happening:

A group of people started off from Berlin and they are walking to Aleppo as a way to raise awareness for the people in Syria and the refugees who flee the war-torn zones.

People from all over the place are joining the march, some only for a few days. Everyone is welcomed to join.

Here’s what you can read on the site of why they embarked on this journey:

Syria is the biggest humanitarian crisis of our time. We cannot watch it unfolding much longer. We want to transform the feeling of helplessness into action

I’m doing my part by spreading the word. In my heart I’m walking right along them! I believe we can make a difference!

Go and check out their site and their Facebook page, and if you can why not join them too?

#CivilMarchforAleppo is a march for peace!

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In a school in Italy, an eight-year old boy named Matteo invented a new word in Italian to describe a flower

#petaloso: a flower full of petals e.g. a sunflower, a daisy.

The homework was “find adjectives to describe nouns”. He wrote petaloso and his teacher marked his assignment with red pen; petaloso is not a word, or at least in wasn’t up until he came up with it.

His teacher wrote on the side of this notebook that it was a “pretty” mistake. Yet, the more she thought about it, the more she liked the word; so she decided to send a letter to the Italian institution that adds new words into the Italian dictionary, submitting the word her student had invented.

Their reply was encouraging, saying the word was “beautiful and clear”, but it also said that in order for a word to get into the dictionary a lot of people have to use it. With the help of social networks the word went viral, people’s response was enthusiatic, everyone was talking about it, it was like wildfire!

What I liked the most about this story was how the teacher believed in her student. She didn’t just see it as a mistake, she saw it as an opportunity. I can just imagine the boy will remember this moment for the rest of his life.

What a wonderful teacher! She’s an inspiration!

 

 

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My sister Susana just came back from her Asian trip with lots of stories, photos and interesting gifts for everyone. My gift was a thimble from Thailand, a few cards with paintings of Thai children, and Lorenzo got lots of coins that will go into the coin collection I started for him.

I asked my sister if I could interview her over a cup of coffee and breakfast cookies and she agreed. You can of course, read her blog over at Never Go South  and follow her on her adventures.

In the meantime, grab yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy the interview!

So, for how long did you dream about taking the trip?

For three years! I first came up with the idea when I was living and working in Serbia with Culture Exchange, an alternative coffee shop that I started with some friends. There I met Alex a crazy Greek/German traveler, he was heading to Asia for a volunteer/bike trip and I got so excited just hearing about it, that I wanted to do it as well.

Which countries did you visit and how long did your trip last?

It was 4 months and 5 days. I visited Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietman, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and spent three hours in Russia, does that count? Seeing Siberia from the airplane was the best part of my trip.

Yours was a backpacking trip, how much stuff did you have?

12 kilos! I didn’t take my camera but I had my laptop. If I would buy anything I would leave something behind. It’s a good idea to travel light. When you’re walking around under the heat you curse everything you have in your bag. Oh and I didn’t really take any makeup.

You speak three languages fluently, right and a bit of Serbian? Which one was the one you used the most?

Sign and body language! Seriously! I spoke mostly English and a little Spanish. I never had the chance of meeting Italians and nobody really speaks Italian outside of Italy. I spoke Spanish with Latin American travelers: Mexican, Argentinian, Chilean and with Spaniards of course.

You did some volunteering in exchange of accomodations…

Yes, I signed up to a website “Workaway”, which is pretty cool!  I ended up in an orphanage in Cambodia, in an English school in Vietman, and in an outdoor activities camp in Malaysia where I helped in the kitchen.

Your favorite place?

Bali and Thailand. Bali for the view and nature and Thailand for the people.

At a certain point you ended up alone and you wrote on your blog about “traveling solo”. Where you ever scared and would you recommend it to a girl?

I was never really scared but I was really lucky nothing “weird” ever happened to me and didn’t have any bad experiences. Southeast Asia is safe to travel, and I noticed that 70% of the travelers were girls traveling alone. Most of the people I met were girls. Personally I think  Eastern Europe is a lot “scarier“,  I feel less secure than I did in Asia.

Did you ever get sick?

I was lucky I didn’t get  sick. Well, I got food poisoning twice in Thailand, it was a horrible experience. Of course, bottled water is a must, and avoid ice on drinks.

Any cultural shock?

Not really. Because I’m used to traveling nothing really shocked me. Maybe the food in Vietnam…a lot of foods didn’t look appetizing and I didn’t eat much. 🙂 Japan was a surprise, I didn’t imagine it so westernized, I mean the quality of things…

Any future trips?

I’m going to Serbia, and then back to England and I would like hitchhike around Europe with my dog. I would also like to take a trip to South America, back to the roots so to speak.

Thank you so much for your time and for answering the questions. Any final words?

Any dream starts with a thought, and even if it takes forever for it to happen, if you don’t give up you’ll find yourself living your dream!

 

 

 

 

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I’m building a school in Bolivia.
Just like the little girl in the story who took her father his lunch at the site where a cathedral was being built, and when she announced that she too was building the cathedral a man scoffed her saying
“Whatever you mean by helping to build a cathedral, you are nothing but a little girl”
“Yes, but my father is building the cathedral and I bring him lunch every day and so I’m also helping to build it.”

My dad’s dentist is from Bolivia and a few years ago he started a grass-roots project as a way to give-back to his country. Together with his wife he started taking baby clothes to donate to hospitals; then he sponsored school bags for school chidren and now together with a group of donors he is building a little school for the families of the poor, rural region of Kewiñal

My mom told me about it and ever since I’ve been helping to fund this project. I help with a small ammout each month but it’s so wonderful to be able to say that I too contribute towards the education of children in the other side of the world.

I’m passionate about education and about people who make it possible for children (and adults) to get an education. It’s every child’s right but sometimes due to poverty and other circumstances education is often neglected. Some families are so poor or live so far away that they cannot affort to send their children to school, or to buy pencils and notebooks.

How easily we forget how lucky we are, helping others is a good reminder.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela

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I don’t know how I found Gav’s site to begin with but one day I discoreved Zen Pencils and I just love it. Some of the quotes are powerful and the art is great and Gavin’s own story is inspirational.

My favorite quote is Ithaka and I think most of my friends who like traveling will agree on its awesomeness.

imdrDo you follow Zen Pencils? What’s your favorite quote?

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My little sister Susana is in Thailand. She’s the crazy, adventurous sister who used to live in Serbia, then moved to London and is on an adventure trip to Thailand.

She writes about it on her blog Never Go South; on her first post she writes about the meaning of the phrase “never go south” which has nothing to do with actually traveling south 🙂

Go check her blog, reading it is an adventure in itself!

“Stay hungry, stay foolish!” Steve Jobs

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Susana at Auytthaya Wat Phra Mahathat. Don’t you wish you were there yourself? 🙂

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I hope you are following Humans of New York‘s FB page. Brandon through his photos is telling the dramatic stories of the refugees that are arriving in Europe. This is what he says about it:

“For the next several days, I’m going to be sharing stories from refugees who are currently making their way across Europe. Additionally, I’ll be spotlighting some of the people who are attempting to help facilitate their immigration and asylum. Together, these migrants are part of one of the largest population movements in modern history. But their stories are composed of unique and singular tragedies. In the midst of the current ‘migrant crisis,’ there are millions of different reasons for leaving home. And there are millions of different hardships that refugees face as they search for a new home. Since the situation is constantly shifting, I’m still not sure of all my destinations. But over the next ten days or so, I hope to share as many of these stories as I can find.”

There are stories of hardship, of tragedy and loss but also of hope and human kindness!

I said I wanted to help and I mean it, but I live far away from where the refugees pass through; I haven’t seen any since they started coming. But since kindness begins at home my sister Vanessa and I are looking for ways to help the less fortunate in our community. We visit the girls at the foster home, we take clothes to the family of four whose father is without a job, we lend our textbooks to students so they don’t have to buy their own, we are on the lookout for ways to help and be a blessing to others.

Take some time to check out Humans of New York’s page, it’s truly inspirational. Let’s spread the love!

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