Author: Jules

Just a real human, being grateful, with my hands held high, screeching with laughter at top volume on this wonderful roller-coaster! Amen.

A Piece on Metaphors: Three Siblings: NLP

There was once a magical land deep in a woodland forest and there lived three little birds who were siblings. Everyday they had to make a journey from the comfort of their home, across the raging river in order to get to school. All three siblings loved school because there were inquisitive little birds and for them, it was a wonder filled fountain of knowledge. However, other than that, they were like chalk and cheese. One disliked the water so he flew high up on the right of the river amongst the giant tree tops and let the silky leaves tickle his feathers. The other was as quick as a flash and she loved the crystal water so she flew low and let herself brush against it intermittently. The third sibling always kept to the middle. She could see her brother and sister laughing and playing like lions, making their journey their playground but she was too afraid to join either of them.

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Every morning before their journey, the sibling who would always take the middle route was apprehensive in comparison to her brother and sister who would were bouncing around like ping pong balls, excitedly. As they started out into the big blue horizon with clouds made of cotton candy, everything was as it always was until suddenly they heard a loud earth shattering sound. Immediately, they came together in the middle and continued flying together, huddled. It was only when they came around to the corner that they saw the Goliath in front of them. A huge boat.

Her brother and sister screamed out at her to fly their way as they parted, her sister to the left and her brother to the right. She still in the middle. She knew she had to get out of the way of the cold steel moving towards her. She couldn’t fly high in the middle above her. There were other creatures that lurked there.

Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes for a moment and darted to the right, like a warrior. Her heart beating like a drum. In the next instant, euphoria came over her. Her brother chirping with enthusiasm. She asked herself as she danced with the tall trees and their soft silky leaves, how she took that same mundane route staying in the middle all those years? This was electric!

From that day onwards, every time the siblings made their journey, because of that one choice that their sister made, they were inspired to break free and they started flying together. Sometimes, on the right, sometimes on the left and other times in the middle.

Pula, Plitvice and thank God for Rijeka!

We had been waiting patiently for this. Holidays of late had been to visit family and this time we decided to throw caution to the wind and conquer another country. There were going to be a lot of firsts for us. We decided to try Norwegian Airways and got our return tickets for really cheap – GBP 58.00 return per person! No, not a typo – just amazing. They were also no delays (so not the Easyjet experience) and free wifi on board. Yes, the plane interior was not the best, old and on our return flight, what looked like porridge splattered on the side next to the window seat but hey, the journey lasted a total of about 2 hours and I wasn’t bothered. I mean, what’s a little crusty old food when you paid to get to a whole new country for the price of a train ticket? The captain was polite, informative and professional so seeing as he was taking me there, that was high on my priority list.

We hired a car. Another first. We were spending three nights in Pula at a plush apartment which we rented. Our accommodation, housed in an old historical building along with the street leading to it, was impressive. As we passed by using our GPS navigating the way, those houses spoke to me, each screaming out at me different anecdotes from their past. The friendly lady who owned the premise showed us in. She spent a lot of time explaining things about the town and how, because we had a car, we should explore further out and she gave us lots of ammunition for the days to come. We were both appreciative and excited.

First thing I wanted to do was check out the beaches. Just to have look so we could pick and choose where we would spend our second day lounging and taking some sun into our cheeks. God knows we needed it after having London to contend with for almost three years. I needed that Vitamin D! We got in our car and drove out for about 10 minutes to the beach we knew was there, close by.

Beach Hawaii was a sad sight. Now, I knew why they took the picture from that angle. Approximately 80 meters of white pebbles and although the water it led to was shimmering shades of blue, the little stretch was filled to the brim. Along the coast, there were lots of big boulders and rocks that people positioned themselves on so they could both sunbathe and plunge into the sea. There was wind and as a result, some currents and waves beating against the rocks. We did the math. New to this place + not used to the current and rocks + general disappointment = not happening. I did have a momentary relapse and decided to try convincing ‘husband’ that it was worth a try until he painted a picture for me. Of my head hitting against one of those big sharp rocks on Day 1 of our Croatian adventure.

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An ATM machine on the door which I found unique

We decided to explore the town on foot so we parked the car back at the apartment and made our way in. Although we expected to see a lot more buzz, it was a pleasant and calm walk. Once in the center, the pace became livelier. We decided on trying some local baked goods and pastries. Croatians know how to make coffee. Everywhere we went, wherever we ordered from, the coffee was fantastic. The people of Pula were a mixed breed. They seemed to not really want us around and even the waitress at the cafe seemed condescending, as if she was bothered by us in some way. There was eye rolling and what seemed like sarcasm when we tried to engage with her. It was at that point, we decided that we would keep any interaction to a minimum. I think it is important to note here that on all our travels, both my husband and I were sociable and we liked speaking to the locals. Never intrusive but just for the purpose of a cultural exchange or learning more about our surroundings. In Pula, we retreated to our space and avoided talking with any of them unless we had to. The nicest people we met there was the owner of our apartment, a young girl at the ice-cream parlour and the taxi driver that took us back to our haven.

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Gladiator Arena

The amphitheatre or arena in Pula was the attraction. I could imagine the Gladiators as I stood right next to the gates and underpasses where they would be waiting to meet their fate. My mind and φαντασία (fantasia) took a stroll and I wondered about them and their families. How many of them ever really made it out of there? Were there stooges and inexperienced young men and women? I could taste the fear and cruelty that must have occurred right there at that very spot. It made me melancholic. We didn’t stay to watch the orchestra although I am sure the acoustics would have been amazing. Knowing me, I would have heard screams and cries blended in with it.

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Risotto with scampi…yum

Over the next two nights, we would explore Croatian cuisine which is very similar to Italian. We ventured out to Rovinj, in particular, a wonderful restaurant called La Perla where we felt very welcomed. The owner was all smiles and whenever he spoke to my husband, he touched his back warmly. The service was excellent too and the food sumptuous and delicious. Some of the best risotto I have ever tasted.

We also visited Farabuto in Pula on our last night there and this left us feeling good because the proprietors of this family owned restaurant were definitely people who had exposure and a little more sophistication in their approach and handling of their guests. The fish soup…mama mia…to die for!

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Croatian Beer

Next stop…Plitvice. A three hour or so drive from Pula. We stayed at a typical Croatian cottage the first night but because it was dusty and my sinuses were doing the fandango, we left and found a hotel about 30 minutes away for our second night. From here, we visited the Plitvice Lakes which we paid GBP 40.00 to see.

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Plitvice Waterfalls

Was it beautiful? Hell yeah. Could we swim in the lakes on that hot summers day? No. They were a UNESCO protected site and us humans would have just messed the balance of everything with our rubbish left everywhere, tanning oils and the like. I didn’t think that the price was fair. Only because everyone should be able to visit. What about those who cannot afford that? It was only the next day in Rijeka, that I learnt from a nice man whilst lounging by the sea, that if we had driven 20 minutes in another direction from the lakes, we would have crossed over into Bosnia and there we could see waterfalls and lakes just like those of Plitvice, for free. To top it off, swimming was permitted. He also told us that drinking a beer in Bosnia was as cheap as two Kuna! Just to give you a comparison – they were an average of 25 Kuna in Croatia.

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Plitvice Lakes

Arriving in Rijeka was a great choice! We loved the place and the people. The town was much bigger than the likes of Pula but it wasn’t that. It was the whole vibe of the place with its quaint restaurants and superb food plus service, pretty squares and architecture. I loved the doors and stone walls. This was a place I could see myself visiting again for a long laid back weekend. The hotel itself was a lovely place to stay because it gave us the sea as our own private swimming pool. We literally walked down a set of steps and there were sun chairs and umbrellas on one side and then steps leading into the ocean. This made up for all those days without having our time in the Adriatic sea.

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The full moon view from our balcony

As if the universe was rewarding us, we got to sit by a full moon on our first night there and be greeted by a huge fish in the middle of the ocean that came to the surface twice and went back under. It was so exciting because it was like it could feel us and we could feel it.

That’s why I love journeys into the unknown because you never really know what you are going to get and it really becomes an exploration. Enjoying the experience with one of my partners in crime is a bonus of course because nothing would have been the same without him. Even if we couldn’t relate to our surroundings all the time, we at least had each other. Rijeka was the icing on our cake and besides eating and drinking Malvazia wine, all we did was to take in the rays, feel immense gratitude and dive deep into the big brilliant blue.

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Our balcony into the sea

Shared Journeys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Browsing and Blogging

I took a walk today and visited some of the blogs that I follow. Many inspired me, just to see how much they have grown and developed. Reading and catching up was fun. I was surprised however, to find that some of my favourite blogs have not posted since December last year. I don’t know why I was so surprised because I myself have been busy with life and not bothered with my blog for a while. I know how I got caught up and I know how my thoughts were often with this blog even if I didn’t act on it. I can only hope that they will return and I will get to read more about their adventures and reconnect. Somehow, it matters to me that they do. I liken it to seeing an old friend after a while of not being in touch. I look forward to it.

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Next week, I start a new job. Something I sought out for myself because I wasn’t happy where I was after almost two years. It was crushing at first because I thought of my current company as family and would have happily stayed with them for the rest of my working career but then when the going gets tough, I have always found that true colours in people and the environment around me shine bright and its up to me to see the signs for what they are. I fought and resisted these hints from the universe for a long while because I so wanted it to work but I was only fooling myself.

What you resists, persists.

I know it but yet many a time, I find myself resisting. Some times I catch it faster than others and I have the courage to face it and move towards another direction but other times, I keep up the fight and hit against brick walls, coming out with bruises and cuts. The good thing is, even if I am no Wolverine, eventually they heal and I get wiser and stronger and when I am on the other side, I always ask myself “What were you thinking?” It’s always easier in hindsight isn’t it? After all, I then had all the information and evidence I needed to see clearer and be smarter. I am making a mental note right now to remember this next time my 11-year-old daughter tells me that she needs a phone and that I just don’t understand. I must try to be less condescending and relate to her more. Perhaps, through listening, I will get through to her that life will go on and that it may be that we don’t get her entirely but that there are more principled and better ways to get what she wants.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Internal Posts, Jane the Virgin and Oscar

It has been a longer time than my last disappearance and trust me, there were tons of posts that I made in the imprint of my mind. I have a few random notes here and there when inspiration hit and I was busy doing other things. Still, I am here because as much as life and the rat race has taken over along with all its pressures and predicaments – my ethereal self has been here, posting. In fact, it was up to her, there would be a post at least every night before bed because even though I had a fit about two years ago and decided to destroy all my diaries, ones that I kept from the age of ten, I do consider this blog a catharsis and process so pertinent to my journey. So the question arises then, “Why after neglecting it for so long…why now, have I suddenly returned?”

Funnily enough, it wasn’t a profound moment or deep and meaningful book. It was Jane the Virgin. She inspired me. Not the plot or simple and funny telenovela storyline but more the visual of her in front of her unbranded computer tapping away and creating  her romance novels and thesis or essays. Somehow that started the ball rolling. I suppose it helped that I did a binge watch and finished two seasons in four days. The image was drilled into me. That’s 44 episodes by the way! Granted, they were approximately 40 minutes each but that in total is 1760 minutes in total. That’s about 29.3333333 hours. That’s more than a whole day of watching episodes. Yes, I have just come back from holiday and I have had a few days to myself and instead of doing something life changing and fruitful – I decided to take on Jane the Virgin. I thought to myself, if I could do that and watch a television character and a fellow writer, with all of what she had going on in her life, what wth being an artifically inseminated virgin, constantly dealing with drama, crime lords, sabotage, romance and whilst waitressing, studying and being a mother as well – I figured that I could take a little time out of my life to do what I love doing. I owe it to myself. After all, I spent more than 24 hours doing jack all.

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The thing is, as much as I make fun of it, jokes aside…I really believe that everything happens for a reason and the combination of Jane and Oscar brought me back here. Oscar who? My chiropractor. At least he just became my chiropractor yesterday. It was my first session ever and my God! In a matter of a few minutes and after a little spine and neck manipulation (at least that’s what I call it) – my posture went from zero to hero. He pushed and cracked away and the tension that I have felt in my neck and shoulders for years, just lifted off me like he was some magical healer. He also asked me questions about my life and thoughts as he did his thing. He noticed things that specialist doctors and medical doctors have never asked me. He got me thinking about how my mind and stress have created physical reactions in my body and health. I am actually looking forward to my next session in three weeks. A chiropractor beats a dentist anytime. They rock! So does quirky Jane, that gorgeous baby of hers named Matteo and her crazy nutty familia.

Standing

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The same shit on a different day. The same issues,  the same frustration and the same old nonsense. It’s been said time and time again…the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again whilst expecting different results. Its crazy but yet we all do it. We have the exact same fight, we choose those self-defeating actions that we have tried before even though they didn’t work then and they most certainly aren’t going to work now. Why? Automatic behaviour? Force of habit? We can’t help it because its our subconscious taking control? More than anything else, I think the real driving force behind all of it are two things. Anger coupled with fear. We get angry because he is saying things that hurt and are one-sided. We become fearful because we think that walking away from it will make him right, will mean defeat, he wins. So much history, so much blame, so many feelings. Adrenaline kicks in and it all goes pear-shaped.

And that was just chapter one. It can go on, giving birth to many parts, all shapes and sizes and the aftermath is draining because she has walked this path so many times, she gets bored, she is also tired so they sweep it under the carpet and make up, promising that the next time they will do it differently, telling each other that it was the last episode. A week passes, fun is had, they feel close and then out of the blue, it happens again because he is grumpy or she didn’t get her way. Nine out of ten times, its something stupid and definitely not worth the strife but there they go again, on the bloody merry-go-round of stupidity. Then the thoughts come rushing in like a bad trip, challenging her and reminding her of all the things she put her word to.

“You said you wouldn’t do this…He is irritating me…Take it…He said he wouldn’t do this…Never mind…I can’t let him get away with it…Walk away…No, he is shouting and raising his voice…You are bigger than this…What about him?…What about you?…Why should I be the one?…Because you can break this…I’m angry…Turn it around…How?…Stand!

And so she stood. She spoke calmly, “I am not going to do this. Please, don’t talk to me like that” Then she walked away. Immediately, something happened. She started making different choices, one after the other and with each new choice, she became stronger and calmer. Pride replaced the shame that use to linger and cut deep. She felt wise and happy. She took control and she won over the situation. She wasn’t faking it or pretending. It was real and solid. I did it.

Just one new ingredient and the recipe changes and the outcome is different. It can taste better or worse but if it didn’t taste great in the first place, then why keep using margarine instead of the butter? It’s there in the fridge after all, maybe just on a different shelf, behind the milk.

When you make a stand, people take notice and the energy that comes with taking or making a stand can be so striking that it cuts down all the fluff and hypnotises onlookers. They follow you. They too are snapped back into reality and sometimes, a shift can occur that changes everything for the better. Once you taste that kind of empowerment, you will never be the same again. You will become addicted to the freedom that choice gives you and you will affect everyone around you in a positive way. Especially when it is required of you.

When I do stand in my life, in all the different ways that are possible, I try not to close my eyes from all those feelings and emotions that come rushing through, I open them wide and take it all in. I watch on and am always humbled at everyone else who is standing with me.

Never again will I point my finger or wait for someone else to stand first.

“If its to be, its up to me” 

Nosepickers Galore

I started a new job and had to commute into London Bridge or Cannon Street Station every work day. At first, my attention was on the scenery and the landmarks outside the train but after a while, if you have seen one platform then you have seen them all. I soon settled into reading or messing about with my phone.

There was one major distraction. The Nosepickers . There were everywhere. Many times, I felt like shouting out and saying, “For God’s sake, wait till you get to a bathroom so you can wash your hands after or use a bloody tissue!” Instead, I just looked away in disgust trying to control the feeling of wanting to throw up a little. My mind would go a wandering. Do they then go to work or their business meeting and then shake someone’s hand? What about that bit that they just rolled up and tried to throw away discreetly? Will it then get stuck on somebody else by accident? Worse still was when I caught them rubbing it off on the edge of the seat!

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I am talking about what appear to be sophisticated working professionals, all groomed and looking refined. There was this “gentleman” the other day who wore a well-tailored suit, he was reading his newspaper when suddenly, out came his finger and there he was mining away for gold. On occasion, the culprits actually fool themselves into thinking that if they turn their body slightly towards the window and cover their hand over their nose, they’ve actually activated an invisible shield or privacy force field and the digging is not being witnessed by the rest of us who are in such close proximity with them. It’s mostly men that I see who are part of the nose picking crew, however, not exclusively. I was lucky enough to meet an honorary lady member. She too was well dressed and wearing exquisite rings on her finger which I was admiring until the interruption jolted me out of my reverie and I turned my attention quickly to the grey brown platform out of the window on the left of me.

I don’t get it. It never ceases to amaze me. I think it’s such a contradiction and it’s the epitome of bad manners and poor hygiene. It’s almost as if they got up in the morning, put on their costume but the show hasn’t started yet. Besides, all the people who commute with them on a daily basis haven’t paid for tickets to see it so who cares about them? The moment they walk into the office or place of work, the transformation begins and it will be lights, camera and action!

I grew up here in England and honestly, I don’t remember there ever being so much of this kind of behaviour and the weird thing is, I don’t see it on my commute locally. What’s this about then? Is it because things have changed and people have become more cut off from their surroundings? Or is it the early morning hours and people are still waking up? Perhaps it’s the comfort of routine that have put them in a trance induced state and they ‘know not what they do’. Call me old-fashioned when it’s comes to this and I’ll be happy you did. I think that the way you behave in these sorts of daily circumstances speaks volumes about the person you are. When you put your bag or feet on the seat next to you, when you push people out-of-the-way or cut in front of them, when you don’t get up for someone who needs it more than you and hell yes, when you pick that nose of yours – it is an unthinking selfish way to carry yourself and all of it tells me a lot about who you are and where you come from.

It’s Been A Long Time…

I shouldn’t have left you. That’s my attempt at quoting Aaliyah, a beautiful woman who died well before her time. I don’t know why but the tune came into my head when I thought of the time that I’ve been away and whimsical me thought, why not?

Firstly, I must tell you that I’ve missed you and not a day has gone by without thinking of this community. Every sight, sound, interaction or inspiration coming at me from the world around me brings me back to my writing and wanting to share it with you. I’ve been starving myself of your posts and thoughts too which is even worse because they were my eyes and links to other worlds and experiences at a time when I wasn’t able to get out as much due to other commitments.

I’m afraid that I have now joined the rat race and after finishing a project at the end of May, I started a new job and it’s taken me to the land of commuting, rush hour and general drone like behaviour. Whilst it gives me lots of material for writing, finding the time is another story. I’ve been adamant about doing it over my computer, the “old fashion” way and that time just hasn’t happened so today, I told myself that I’m going to give the smartphone a try. That’s why they’re smart phones right!? I use them for all kinds of other things so why not for this? That way I can squeeze in a few posts on my commute or during my wait for the next available train. There is just so much food for thought on a daily basis, I feel like I’m losing out because I am not expressing it and sending it out there. I see my blog as a chakra point and not using it to its fullest is like cutting the energy flow from that chakra point and causing some major upset in my well being. I don’t really have to ask because I know from reading about you and your experiences that its very much like that for many of you too.

Thank you for sticking around. I shan’t go away for long periods of time anymore.

Change at Faversham

My younger sister and I went to the same boarding school and for years, we would take the same train from London Victoria to our destination. Sometimes, there would be arranged journeys where boarders from all over the world would return from escapades in their respective countries and we would congregate at Victoria where our teachers or house-mistresses would be waiting for us after a long half-term. The two-hour journey would be one where we caught up and found out about each other’s adventures and stories, reluctantly settling in to the idea that school was now back in session. Soon we would be into the routine of “lights out” early in the night and the dreaded morning wake up calls. My house-mistress would have this great big bell which she would clang loudly, screaming, “Good morning, rise and shine” in a shrill voice, opening the curtains and letting the sun in, stinging our eyes.

There was one particular end of term where I would not be going back to boarding school because I had finished and it was time for A-levels at a private college in London where we lived. My mother insisted that when it was time for Ariana to go back to school, I was to make the trip with her and return on the night train. She was fourteen at the time and I was just seventeen. I didn’t share the same idea as my mother. I thought that it was about time for her to make the trip herself. Keep in mind that this wasn’t an organised trip and that she would be making it on her own. The both of us had done this many times already. My sister was extremely sheltered when it came to getting things done for herself. I was the one who always did it for her and my parents expected that of me. It use to upset me but mainly because I felt that she would never learn how to take care of herself if I continued to do it for her. At times, I would push her to do things, like buy tickets or go to the shop on her own. It was a gradual process and so I thought the time had come for her to make the journey back to boarding school on her own. After all, we had made the same journey at least four times a year for the past five years. How could she go wrong? It would be a piece of cake and my mother was just being overprotective.

We traveled on the tube and I got her to the station and bought her the tickets. I went through the entire route and instructions with her umpteen times. I must have said, “Remember, change at Faversham” about six times throughout our journey from our front door to Victoria Station. My sister nodded and said that she had got it but in all honesty, we were both rather pensive about the departure. Also because it would be her first time on her own and we were so close that being apart was difficult. I took her to the platform and put her on the train after I hugged her and kissed her goodbye. The doors were closing and I saw her face. She was worried.

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“Change at Faversham!” I shouted. The train started moving and I ran alongside it waving at her. My heart sank and I had a lump in my throat, immediately regretting not going on the journey with her. All the way home, I kept thinking of her and praying that she would be alright and telling myself that it was about time that she did this sort of thing on her own. She was fourteen and it was a journey that she had made over twenty times in her life. I always worried and stressed about her. She was like my child even though, I was still a child myself.

I was watching a show on television, keeping an eye on the time. She was to call me once she got into school. They were going to pick her up from the station at a specific time. The call didn’t come and so we started panicking. My mother started telling me off and saying that I should have gone with her. That she couldn’t do this sort of thing on her own. That she wasn’t like me. I argued back and said that she had to learn and that if they kept sheltering her, she would never function normally in society. Inside, I was dying. Half an hour later, the phone rang but it was not my sister. It was the school, telling me that she was not at the station and that the train had arrived without her on it. I immediately felt sick. My mother was ranting and raving in the background. We waited.

The phone rang again and this time it was my sister and she was crying on the other end. I tried to calm her down, wanting to break down myself.

“Where are you?”
“I’m at a pay phone” she said, crying. “A woman found me and took me here so that I could call you”
“A woman? Which woman? Where are you?”
“She is going to take me to her house”, she added, sobbing.
“What? Let me speak to her. Now!”

After speaking to the woman, I found out that she would be taking my sister to her house in order to wait for her husband who would then take Ariana to the station. They had a boy who was Ariana’s age. She told me that she found my sister crying on the side of the street at a phone booth that wasn’t working and so she offered her help. I also learned that Ariana did not change at Faversham and instead continued on the train to another destination and eventually decided to get off the train when it started to look unfamiliar. I wanted to scream but kept my composure even with my mother running around in the house like a headless chicken.

This was a time where mobile phones were rare. When you made arrangements with people, you showed up. There was no last-minute ‘short message service’ or call to check on where the meeting point was.

The lady that found my sister was an angel. She took her into her home, fed her with warm milk and cookies and when her husband got home, he took her on the train and delivered her personally to the school’s caretaker. We got the call and everything was alright. When my mother asked my sister for the name and address of the family that helped her so that she could send them something as a thank you for saving her child, Ariana simply said that she didn’t know their names nor their address. Till this day, my sister is convinced that they were angels from heaven. I think that they were the finest examples of humanity and I send them love and appreciation wherever they are.

And It Burns

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Blogging 101, Day Sixteen: Make a Prompt Personal

Needless to say, the prompt from April 30th invited Johnny Cash into my head and the tune is on a loop. As I write this post, I can hear him, with his signature voice, doing his thang so I’m just going with the flow and using that as a spot of inspiration too.

ID-100129642Call me the Queen of Spice. Not just spice but hot spice. I love it and I cannot do without it for long. I add chili powder to my eggs in the morning, to my pasta whenever I can and of course when I am making a curry, besides the cumin, coriander and cinnamon, chili is a must for that extra kick. My mother makes this saltsa made of pureed fresh red chilies and tomato. Prawns and cluster beans are added to the dish and you eat it with  plain or coconut rice. We spread that chili mix on some bread and make sandwiches with the leftovers. I have an Irish cousin who didn’t do too well with chili when we were kids. My mother would always make sure that if we were having Asian food, then he’d have a special non spicy dish prepared for him. He’d be happily eating his food and enjoying it but if he saw so much as a red tomato in it, he’d start fanning his mouth and downing glasses of water. So one day just to call his bluff, I made one of those sandwiches for him and told him that it was jam. He took one bite and his face lit up like a red light bulb and he was running all around the kitchen like he was being chased by a swarm of bees. So I was wrong but I had to know. Plus, I thought it was really funny, at that time.

As you can see, I’ve been eating hot spicy food since I was a child so my stomach doesn’t react in a bad way to it. My brother-in-law however, who loves spice and my cooking, always feels the need to tell me about the morning after and how his bum was on fire. He thoroughly enjoys shocking people with the things he says. He loves winding people up and always succeeds with his mother. She reacts which only encourages him. I have this deadpan look whenever he tries with me and so he gets bored and moves on to the next victim.

I called him the other day.

“Hey. was wondering if you’d like to come over for dinner on Friday?”

“Yes, of course. I’ll be there!” [Enter my mother-in-law in the background and he addresses her] “What? What did you say? It’s Juliana…What? Don’t talk about her like that Mama. What? No, don’t worry, she won’t be coming over…”

I was laughing on the other side of the telephone because I knew what he was trying to do. My mother-in-law however was getting really worked up and telling him off, saying things like…“Don’t say rubbish like that, she’ll think its true…” I wasn’t falling for it, not for a minute. I think deep down inside, she knew better but I find that sometimes, the idea of pausing for a moment after stimuli and choosing the best response is difficult and easier said than done. He knows all her buttons and he pushes them regularly.

He does this dance for me. There’s even some kind of twerking in it. He sends us all into stitches when he does grace us with his repertoire. He has threatened to do it in a g-string. A leopard patterned one. It was all talk of course because he would never go to those lengths but again, just as I did with the sandwich and Aedan, I thought I’d test him out too. For one of his Christmas presents, I bought him that g-string as a laugh and when he opened up his present, the whole clan was there and he was incredibly embarrassed. For once, we didn’t hear a word out of him and everyone thanked me profusely!

 

ogging 101, Day Sixteen: Make a Prompt Personal

Write on My Balls

Blogging 101, Day Twelve: Be Inspired By the Community

I have been inspired by so many of you. ID-10043163

Thank you.

When I signed up for the course with the Blogging University, I thought to myself, “Hmm, that looks interesting. I think I’ll do that!” I am so glad that I did. 

The assignments before this one asked us to visit blogs and make a number of comments and spread the love. I had already been doing that so the likes, follows or comments were out there. It was great to see that I was on track with the action that was expected of me. Feedback.

A couple of nights ago, I received a number of follows and so very early this morning when I had some down time, I sat with my filtered coffee in hand; an Espresso roast, black no sugar and spent some time visiting and reading. Something on Joe Seeber’s website caught my eye and I lingered on one of his posts in particular, even extending my stay by watching the video of him discussing the topic and elaborating further. He talked about not putting so much emphasis on what people think about you. He put it in his own way and if you have the time, you should go visit his blog.

I completely get the point he was making about not giving a shit. I think that people can be very fickle and if I were to base my actions and ideas based on what people might think of me, then I’m headed for ‘Doomsville’. I’d be Jekyll to you and Hyde to her because let’s face it, not everybody shares the same values or sees things the same way. I welcome different ideas and opinions, it’s the flavour of life. What I don’t welcome is someone trying to force their point of view down my throat and have me accept it in order to do right by them. Stuff that!

“But Morpheus, everyone doesn’t believe you”

“My belief does not require them to”                                        

I think that building a relationship with myself is more important than any other because if I don’t have that to begin with, I won’t have the others either. I now have a strong sense of myself and because of that, I have real relationships with many people. When we have conversations with each other, there is no need for anyone to be right or wrong. It is a meeting of souls that have had a variety of experiences and we are seldom attached to any one of them. Sharing and connecting is really our primary reason for reaching out to each other. A coffee, a dinner or even a phone call. We exit the scene feeling fantastic.

“Always leave a situation better off than how you found it”

In Greece, there is a saying, perhaps more so in the modern community but having said that, everyone there gets it. Saying it to your grandmother however, would not be appropriate.

“Γραψεις στα αρχιδια μου” (Grapsis sta arxidia mou) This literally translates to “write on my balls”.

When I first learnt that saying, I had a good laugh and I thought it was perfect. It encapsulated exactly how I felt about expressing myself when it came to this type of thing. A person doesn’t agree with whom I want to marry. They can write on my balls. A store attendant thinks she is all that and a bag of chips and is treating me like she owns me. She can write on my balls. An acquaintance thinks I’m an idiot for giving up my job and moving half way across the world because I’ve got such a good thing going. He can write on my balls too. You use this phrase when people are imposing or self importantly judging. Not because a friend may like chocolate and you hate it.

We were sitting at the beach and basking in the beautiful Mediterranean sun. A woman emerged out of the water and she was wearing a bikini that had watermelons on it. In fact, the bottom part of her suit looked like a serving of a big piece of watermelon. She was on the larger side and the swimming suit didn’t flatter her body. I actually didn’t even notice her. I was sprawled over the chair and had my shades on. I only looked up because Sakis, a friend of mine said, “I am never eating watermelon again!” with such utter disgust. The woman glanced over and it looked like she had caught his comment. She looked directly at him and slapped her inner right thigh with her palm facing outward and simultaneously said loudly, “Nah!” which is the sign for…yes, you guessed it…altogether now…write on my big hairy balls! It was classic. I burst out laughing and immediately jumped out of my chair, going towards her with my hand in the air signalling for a high-five. She gave it to me. God bless her. That was the only exchange we needed. She got me and I got her. And Sakis got it nice and proper.

Source: The Matrix Reloaded