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Posts Tagged ‘life’

Do you ever wish you could just take off and leave everything behind? Does it happen often that you feel the place you are at is too small, too narrow or too boring?

Wouldn’t it be fun to just hop on the next plane out of here?

Anywhere but here! 

Because sometimes it feels, I’m sure it happens to all of us, that we cannot, we will not be content with less than the best. Happiness is just around the corner and we will get on the first bus, train, bicycle or even a donkey and just ride towards that bright future that’s waiting for us.

We will chase that dream and find happiness…

Except that happiness is not something you can chase and if you cannot be content in one place chances are you will not be content anywhere.

Sometimes you are exactly where you are supposed to be but the grass is always greener on the other side. So, over to the other side we go and then discover that the patch next to it is greener still and our garden is no fun anymore.

“We must cultivate our own garden.” Voltaire

That’s one piece of radical advice!

What if we would really make the best of where we are because that is the place we are meant to be?

What if hopping on the next plane is not the answer?

What if we would learn contentment?

What if it’s not the circumstances but us that make the difference?

Just think about it!

28528_1306805665829_7446471_nPhoto: Holger Bergner

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Take time to slow down

I think it’s a challenge for all of us to slow down, I know for me it is.

I want to be able to enjoy the little things, to take the time to play with Lorenzo, to take him to the park, to go for a walk without having to rush home. To enjoy my coffee, to stare out the window.

At work it’s almost impossible to slow down. I work in the kitchen once a week and the last two times I noticed that right outside the kitchen door there was a little robin pecking at the crumbs from the floor.

It was such a refreshing sight, so peaceful, I stared at the window and watched him go back and forth and finally fly off towards the trees.

It was nothing special really, it just made me smile. I don’t always stop to enjoy the little things like I should.

It’s something I need to work on. I’m glad though, that I stopped to look at the robin, it sort of helped me put things in perspective. Life is all about the little moments.

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Je Suis Alicia

Saturday morning, November 14th, the world woke up to the tragic news of the Paris dramatic events. Shock, grief, disbelief, anger, sadness and fear were some of the emotions that were expressed by people in the street, in the shops, at the cafés and on the News Channel.

I lit a candle on my window sill that evening. A candle that represented hope, a light in the midst of darkness, a prayer for humanity.

People showed their solidarity by changing their profile photo or writing #jesuisparis, and I personally think it’s a beautiful statement. It’s a simple, powerful way to say without so many words that human life is valuable.

#jesuisparis #jesusisbeirut #jesuisbaghdad #jesuislemonde

Words are powerful, especially if followed by action. That’s why for me it’s important not only to say it, but to actually live it, to live each day promoting peace and social integration.

I’m afraid that in light of the events and out of fear, walls will be built instead of bridges and that will be such a big mistake. Peace and brotherhood are built through positive interaction, by people talking to and getting to know each other. This tragedy should draw us closer not drive us apart.

Of course je suis Paris and je suis le monde but more importantly je suis Alicia and I believe every life is important.

Je suis Alicia and I help with the funding of a school project in Bolivia.

Je suis Alicia and I volunteer twice a week at an Italian course for foreign women, where I teach a group of them how to read and write.

Je suis Alicia and I collect clothes and deliver them to low-income families and homeless people.

Je suis Alicia and I will teach my baby boy that through our actions we can make the world a little brighter and it’s our duty to do so.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you will join us and the world will be as one” Imagine -John Lennon

 

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A few years ago, when I was still living in Hungary, I went on a week trip to Germany with a colleague to visit some of the sponsors for the charity association we worked with in Budapest. We went to the Black Forest area in the south of Germany and on the weekend my colleague suggested we go over to Switzerland for a hike.

We hiked up the Säntis, which is one of the most prominent summits in the Alps and in Europe. It was a lovely Spring day and we set off early in the morning. We started the hike and I walked as fast as I could, my colleague told me to go slow otherwise I would get tired before reaching the top.

At first it was easy, I was full of enthusiasm and the view was glorious. Then as the hours passed by and we kept walking it got harder and harder to keep going. As we left the valley behind the climb got more intense. We had to go across the rigde that was snowy and scary. I hate heights and going down the rigde was a frightening experience that took a lot of courage. The last stretch was the hardest. When I made it to the top, I was on my hands and knees and didn’t get up right away; I burst into tears of exhaustion, of fear, of stress, of frustration, of victory and of accomplishment all together.

It took us four hours to get to the top but then we had to go back down. And that was just as hard, my feet couldn’t take another step forward even though I was wearing good hiking shoes. It took us five hours to get down to the valley. You know, looking back if somebody would have told me that I would go on such a hike I would have thought them crazy. I’m not at all a nine-hour-hike type of girl. But I’m glad I did it and is one of those little interesting stories I can talk about at dinner parties.

I feel the same way about my three years of night-school experience. It’s over now and just like climbing the Säntis I would have never ventured into it if I had know how difficult it would have been. It hasn’t been easy to be away every evening for three years, and possibly if I had to redo it I wouldn’t. It’s not simple to make long-term commitments without feeling weary half-way through. Actually the second year was the worst one, I thought of quitting many times. The last year, which I thought would be the most difficult, being pregnant and all, turned out to be the best.

I am of course very happy of my night-school years and it brings me satisfaction to complete something that seemed eternal at the beginning; it was challenging but it turned out to be such a wonderful experience after all.

Sometimes life itself feels like a long, ardous climb. Some of the sacrifices we make, the hardships we endure are not what we expected at all. But when you reach the top, when you finish a project, when you fulfill your dreams you realize it was so worth it.

Do you remember the song “The Climb”? That was my anthem during my last year of school, a good reminder to keep climbing when the climbing got rough.

I can almost see it
That dream I am dreaming
But there’s a voice inside my head saying
“You’ll never reach it”

Every step I’m taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking

But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose

Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb

The struggles I’m facing
The chances I’m taking
Sometimes might knock me down
But no, I’m not breaking

I may not know it
But these are the moments that
I’m gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep going

And I, I got to be strong
Just keep pushing on

‘Cause there’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose

Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb.

santis
Photo by Holger Bergner, my fellow hiker and now on a Mission project in the Phillippines.

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I know I’m doing it right when the children I used to take care of and have grown up come up to say hi and want to talk and tell me about their lives. I know I’m doing it right when the kids see me from far away and run to hug me and wave when they see me drive by. I know I’m doing it right when they remember me and somehow I contributed in making a difference in their lives. I know I’m doing it right when my children (they are my children, you know) tell me,

“Hey Alicia, should we take a selfie?” and I’m not into selfies, really I’m not but I’ll take a selfie with my children/teens any day.

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These are the moments that add value to my life, the moments that are important to me. These are the moments I cherish the most. These are the memories I’m forever taking with me.

“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove…but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” Forest E. Witcraft

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School starts in a week. I have been trying to prepare myself to a very difficult nine month period. Last year was quite the challenge for me and I had to adjust with my job, studying, my personal life, my relationship with Loris and finding time in between to sleep. Once or twice I almost didn’t make it, I thought I was going crazy, I experienced for the first time in my life panic attacks, I can assure you they aren’t nice, nor was I prepared to handle them.

It wasn’t bad all the time and the truth is that going back to school was my idea and I like studying but I’m not superhuman. There’s only so much I can do and it takes a lot of humility to recognize your limits.

I don’t excel in school, never have! I do well with languages and I sort of have an easy time with social subjects like law and psychology. But I’m not overly smart and somethings just don’t make any sense to me, like Math!

This is my last year and I know it will be difficult, I don’t expect it to be easy but I want it to be special. I don’t care about landing exceptionally good grades, I know that because of my work schedule and responsibilities there’s only so much I can give as a student.

But I do have a goal! I want to leave something behind, I want people to remember I passed through. Last year, at the end of the school year some of us students got together and for the first time in the history of night school there was a performing band that played live in the school premises.

First time in the history of night school! Think of that! Maybe it will be something that will happen every year, you never know, maybe we started a new trend.

My sister Vanessa is also starting her last year of school, we talked about what our goals should be one evening. I told her I don’t care about the final exam and grades; those things matter very little to me. Instead I want to leave a landmark, a sort of “inukshuk” (look up that pretty little word) that states that I was there, and I made a difference.

I want to be remembered for being positive and happy, for having a little of that mystical spark you have when you believe in something greater that yourself. I want my classmates to think of me and remember me with my guitar and my dreams of making the world a better place. I want my teachers to know that they are too playing a part in the wonderful future I’ll have and that their job is both important and appreciated.

This is a quote from Stephen Grellets that says exactly what I want to accomplish in my last year of school:

“I expect to pass through this world but once. If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do, to any fellow being let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

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Our class singing John Lennon’s “Imagine”

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3 years together! We made it this far!
I hear people telling me how they’ve been married for half a century and I feel silly telling them that Loris and I have just celebrated 3 years as a couple. I feel silly because I know they are thinking how we are just starting out and marriage like wine has to pass the test of time.

I heard about the 7 year crisis, thankfully I still have 4 years to go, because I don’t think I have the strength to handle a crisis right now. Then my friends with children say “oh wait till you have kids, relationships always change when you have kids”. Again I’m thankful we don’t have children yet, and hope they come when we are ready. As if you could actually plan life!

People still shake their heads with disbelief at us and our 12 year-gap and they think we are crazy. Sometimes I myself think we are crazy!

But we take life as it comes, with all its problems and bills and taxes, rents to pay, clogged sinks, door bells that are waiting to be fixed, empty fridge and cupboards (when we don’t have time to go to the store), laundry that piles in the bathroom basket, windows that never ever get washed, and stairs that never ever get mopped.
The only things that work at our place are the garden and the internet connection, oh and the oven, that works fine too, probably because we use it so rarely.

I’m telling you Taylor Swift is right, life makes love look hard. And when we are both tired (physically, not mentally) we ask ourselves “chi ce lo fa fare?” (the English translation would be “why in the world are we doing this?”)
And the answer is, I’m doing THIS (see list above) because ours is a love worth fighting for. I wouldn’t change it for the world. Okay, maybe I would like to have a cleaner kitchen and less bills to pay but that’s something I can work on.

I think in general the reason why I’m willing to fight for this love is because I feel loved! Loris makes me feel like there’s nobody in the world that can make pasta col tonno (tuna pasta) better than me, that I’m the best at ironing his shirts, and that I am without doubt the prettiest girl in town. Who wouldn’t fight for a love like that? Our life is not easy nor simple, but it’s all ours!

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