Tag Archives: little things

Touching Lives. Making a Difference. Adding Value. Jaiselmer, India.

11 Jul

On this tour we have stayed in a little town called Jaiselmer, smack in the middle of Rajasthani desert. The Golden City is not big but very beautiful (minus the sand dust).

In that hotel there were four young men that worked as “everything” – they cooked, waited tables, cleaned, and fixes the place. So, they did everything and then some. The youngest one was only fourteen years old! And they oldest one was seventeen.

Now, before I go any further, I’d like to clarify what it is to be a white person with platinum blond hair and green eyes in India. People will ask to take a picture with you, they will ask you tons of questions and would want to shake your hand. They will also stare and follow you. You feel like you are a cross between an alien and a celebrity. A lot of local people consider it a privilege to converse with a tourist and especially if he or she invites you to sit down next to them.

On any trip I take, I like to get to know the local people. So, after we have settled down in our hotel, I have started asking questions of the four guys we had working there. I asked about heir hometown, their dreams, what they would want to do with their lives, whether they want to travel… Then I have asked whether I can take some portraits. Here are the portraits that came out:

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When we were taking those portraits their eyes were shining, and the smiles were so broad and grateful! I think tourists rarely pay attention to people like this in addition to the fact that hotel staff are trained to be “invisible”. I could just see the appreciation in their eyes that a foreigner has taken the time to get to know them, ask questions, and be interested in them as human beings. One of the guys liked having his portrait taken so much, he even asked me if I can do it again! And here is the result:

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It is possible that they will remember me for a while – some blond, pale American lady that liked taking pictures and get to know people. And that puts a smile on my face 🙂

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Feel bad about your life? Travel to India.

11 Jul

Today is my fourteenth day in India with around seven days to go. I have been journaling on a regular basis yet the internet connection has been so slow I couldn’t post anything!

So far we have visited Bikaner, Jaiselmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaipur and now we are in Agra for two days.

My observation of India has been mixed. I love some parts of it (it’s people and its’ history and culture) and dislike other parts of it (poverty, segregation, pollution).

On our way from New Delhi to Bikaner (via 8hour train ride) we have passed by some unbelievable slums. And those are not even the worst ones. In India, you will find people living under scorching sun, under bridges, in makeshift houses. These houses are pretty much a piece of cloth that is supported by four bamboo sticks. Some people live on less than one dollar (!) a day.

I have taken some photos of the slums to share with you.

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I have asked my tour members to remind me to look at these photos anytime I am complaining about United States and how miserable my life is.

I am grateful for so many things that we so often take for granted:
Clean water, electricity, free education, clean air, nice roads and highways, garbage collection, a government that uses our a taxes to fix things and provide a safe, pleasant environment for us to live. Don’t get me wrong, things are not perfect in the U.S. yet when you compare the life style to some people in India, my heart fills with gratitude that I am an American.

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Things that make me happy…

19 Jan

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Cups of hot tea. Learning new things. Traveling to exotic places. Cozy fireplaces. Great books. Life conversations with friends. Seeing my students have aha moments. Spending time with my husband. Writing. Talking to dad. Hot yoga. That first cup of coffee. Snow. Full moon. Birds chirping. Winter holidays. All things summer. Beach. Bike. Late spring evening walks. Movies. Writing birthday cards. Sunrises and sunsets. Meditating at SoShimSa. Drifting to sleep. Waking up. Being who I am. Stroking a cat.

My Daily Dose of Inspiration

21 Nov

New day, new beginning. A chance to make things right, a chance to change your mind. An opportunity to try again. An opportunity to enjoy your life, and all the little things.

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Summer days, filled with wonder

7 Aug

Ever since this summer started, my days have been filled with all kinds of physical activities: gym, hot yoga, swimming, hiking, and riding a bike. 

Additionally, I have been reading voraciously, spending time on meditation, blogging, and learning about things I usually don’t have time for. I have also been practicing mindfulness in every day things like washing dishes, brushing my teeth, driving, standing in a line, having coffee…

I’d love to share a few photo collages that give a good idea of my biking ventures. Those photos are only one small part of my summer 2013 photo folder… Is it bad that I take so many? I keep telling myself that I am creating the memories. I plan on looking at them sometime in January 😉

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Watchung Reservation has been my all season soul-nurturing place. I come here to read, hike, ride a bike, meditate.

 

 

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Sandy Hook is also my all time favorite place to be. History, beach, perfect biking trails, ice cream trucks… One word- heaven!

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What can you celebrate today?

23 Jul

What can you celebrate today?

It is not even eight o’clock, but the day is already fabulous. After I dropped A off at the station, I have come back home, poured myself a cup of coffee and stared out of the window. It’s cloudy, fresh, and so, so pleasant. So, the day has not even really begun for me, but what can I celebrate already?

1. The freshness of the air. After 10 straight days of unbelievable heat, it is just so amazing to breathe in that fresh, moist air… I think it smells like a mixture of rain and ocean.

2. Running water. Brushing your teeth, washing your face, taking a shower, washing dishes. Running water is a luxury that not every one has access to. So, celebrate it.

3. A company of my animals. When I walked back in the door, both of my cats were there to greet me. Although they don’t speak, I have understood the message: ” we are glad you are here.”

4. An amazing cup of coffee. And I can have two!

5. My breath. In Hinduism, breath is the most sacred thing. Prana, the breath, is what separates us from being dead. If you are still breathing, you have prana, that means everything is more than fine. You are alive. Let’s celebrate our breath.

What about you? What little things are you celebrating?

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